seal salamander (Desmognathus monticola)
CHARACTERISTICS: This is a robust salamander that is buff, green-
gray, or light brown with dark, wavy, worm-like marks on its back. It
has a pale or slightly mottled belly. The separation between the back
and belly coloration is very distinct. In the Virginia Blue Ridge, the dark
dorsal markings are usually reduced to scattered, round dots. The tail,
which makes up about half of the total length, is compressed and knife-
like at the tip. Its name may have come from its appearance when perch-
ed at a burrow entrance or on a wet rock, giving the appearance of a tiny
seal. This salamander hides under rocks or logs, or stays in burrows near
streams, during the day. This salamander deposits its eggs in cavities of
rotten logs or the undersurfaces of rocks in streams.
DISTRIBUTION: The seal salamander is found in the Appalachian
Mountains and adjacent ares of the Piedmont in Virginia. It inhabits
hardwood forests near rocky, cold streams, seepages, and springs.
It is most abundant at elevations below 1370 meters.
FOODS: This salamander forages at night for other salamanders and
Crooked Run Valley