Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Tom Pauley

Second Advisor

Leonard J. Deutsch


Desmognathus ochrophaeus, the mountain dusky salamander, is a medium-sized Desmognathine, which inhabits moist woodlands. It is a slender species with a well rounded, slim and tapering tail (Bishop 1967), and 14 costal grooves (Green and Pauley 1987). The average total length is between 70 mm and 100 mm with the tail accounting for approximately half this length (Conant and Collins, 1991). The visual appearance of this salamander is highly variable (figure 1). Most individuals have a distinct light middorsal band with straight edges and darker sides. The colors of the band may vary from yellow, orange, or red to dark brown or black. If the middorsal band is light there are usually a series of dark v-shaped chevrons extending from the head to the hind legs. The largest mature males in this study had a predominantly black dorsal pattern, while the majority of the juveniles had a very bright, distinct, middorsal band that was usually either yellow or red. Some individuals did not have an obvious band but were light in color and had a mottled appearance. The venter of D. ochrophaeus is light and may be slightly mottled.


Dusky salamanders – Ecology.

Salamanders – West Virginia.