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Help with an ID

This is a discussion on Help with an ID within the Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) forums, part of the Species, Genus & Family Discussions category; So I took my son on a little afternoon herping trip yesterday and we found lots of great little friends ...

Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) The largest, and one of the most diverse groups of salamanders, these salamanders have all evolved to breathe solely through their skin and are found almost exclusively in North America.

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Old 16th April 2011   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help with an ID

So I took my son on a little afternoon herping trip yesterday and we found lots of great little friends to pose for the camera, but there was one I could not ID. I have found lots of these over the last 2 years, but never actually was able to scoop it up in time to get a photo.

Can anyone help me figure out what this is? I checked the nature website that has an "e" in front of it for help, but nothing seemed to match. I know from Leopard Geckos that sometimes juveniles look different than adults, and I also know sometimes adult salamanders can loose or have faded patterns, but this guy just throws me. I am assuming he is a Plethedontid of some sort.

A little info to help figure out what he is:
Found under a flat rock in a stream, in a mountain area, heavily forested (but near the bottom of the mountain). The state was MD.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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Old 16th April 2011   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help with an ID

I think its a Desmognathus, but no idea on the species...

Hopefully someone who is more familiar with american species will be able to tell.



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Old 16th April 2011   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help with an ID

I guess they're D.fuscus almost sure. Still you may wait for Justin is the one to tell you with no doubts..



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Old 16th April 2011   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help with an ID

What surprised me are the blue speckles along the lower sides.

I wondered about duskys but the color seems so off.



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Old 16th April 2011   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help with an ID

What county in Maryland? Could be Desmognathus fuscus or ochrophaeus, but probably fuscus. They are very difficult to differentiate in older adults. The county might tell you for certain which it is.

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Old 17th April 2011   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help with an ID

I believe this would be considered Frederick county MD.

Does anyone have any other dusky photos that are black with blue speckles though? Is this an indicator of a youthful one?



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Old 18th April 2011   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help with an ID

I agree with jorgo and Tim (Desmognathus fuscus).

Duskies will get darker as they age and finding an old one makes ID a pain where sp overlap. Their patterns and color also vary considerably, I always find something I haven't seen before with desmogs.



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Old 26th April 2011   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help with an ID

I agree with jaster, no doubt an adult D. fuscus.



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Old 26th April 2011   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help with an ID

The tail shape and habitat define it clearly as D.fuscus.

Color and pattern can be very variable in Desmognathus, and often largely similar between species. For most herps, morphology is FAR more reliable than color. In this case, the relatively northern location automatically limits the number of species, the heavy jaw muscles identify a Desmogathus, and both the flattened tail and the aquatic collecting site limit the choice to D.fuscus.



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