Spotted Dusky Salamander

Desmognathus conanti


Spotted Dusky Salamanders are relatively common and found throughout the state (besides the northwest Mississippi River valley region). Habitats for this species are usually clean, alluvial seepages. Length is 3-5 inches (Powell et al., 2016). This species is often mistaken for the less-common D. valentinei. Spotted duskies are brown or gray with highly variable patterning. They are usually marked with dark red or orange blotching, but can be marked with yellowish colors or unmarked. Like many dusky salamanders, they have a small “earmark” just posterior of the eye. Individuals in coastal Mississippi and in other isolated watersheds may represent distinct undescribed species (Beamer and Lamb, 2020).

Adult Desmognathus conanti in coastal Mississippi, Jackson Co. (MS)

Identifying Traits

  • Gray or brown body
  • Highly variable pattern, usually reddish in color
  • Compressed tail typical of Desmognathus sp.
  • Light-colored or orange “ear” (stripe behind eye) typical of dusky salamanders


Alluvial streams and ravines (Powell et al., 2016)


Can take shelter under rocks and logs


Various small invertebrates

Light individual, Claiborne Co. (MS)
A juvenile, which generally exhibit brighter patterns, Jackson Co. (MS)
Closeup of head, Claiborne Co. (MS)
Adult Desmognathus conanti, Washington Par. (LA)
Typical pattern of a younger individual, Washington Par. (LA)