Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Thomas Pauley

Second Advisor

Frank Gilliam

Third Advisor

Jeffrey May


The Black Mountain Salamander, Desmognathus welteri, is listed as S2 by the WVDNR. Given the threat of extirpation, this species is in need of studies to facilitate a conservation effort. The following studies were completed as part of this work: Comparative morphology of the genus Desmognathus in West Virginia; Distribution of D. welteri in West Virginia; Habitat partitioning of Desmognathine salamanders; and Phenology of Desmognathus spp. Ratios of morphometrics of the tail were found to be most useful for distinguishing Desmognathus spp. D. welteri was found in three of 22 streams searched, meaning there are now 21 documented occurrences of this species in southern West Virginia. Habitat partitioning was demonstrated to occur between D. welteri and the next largest sympatric species, D. monticola. Finally, Desmognathus spp. completed their movement to winter retreats when the water temperature dropped to 7 C and emerged in the spring at the same water temperature.


Dusky salamanders - West Virginia.

Dusky salamanders - Habitat.

Dusky salamanders - Morphology.