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Pygmy Salamander (Desmognathus wrighti)???

calinewt

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Hi all, while out hiking in SE Tennessee, I stumbled across a few tiny Salamanders---they were under small rocks in a bit of a seepage track. They were at mod an inch in length, and had no external gills. Upon looking at field guides, salamander books, etc, I'm pretty sure they are Pygmy Salamanders. I wanted to see if you all agree. I admit my pics aren't the greatest, but I didn't want to disturb them any more than I did...
So what do you think?
 

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John

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Too fuzzy to tell. What county and what approx elevation?
 

Jefferson

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I'm with John that we need to know county and elevation, but my gut says this isn't a Pygmy. There are a few reasons that I'd lean toward this being either a seepage salamander (Desmognathus aneus) or some other newly-transformed dusky salamander.

First, all the Pygmy salamanders I've found in NC, TN, and VA have been at very high elevation (over 4500-5000 feet) in spruce-fir forests, not in water. They are overwhelmingly a woodland species. Secondly, although the pictures are blurry, the salamander looks like it's a dark brown or black, and I don't see a Chevron pattern down its back. Pygmy Sallies are most easily identified by that chevron pattern and are almost always tan, reddish-brown, or light brown above.

Lastly, despite the blurry pictures, we can make out its form, and it looks a little chunkier than the Pygmy Salamanders I've seen. The body form looks more to me like a newly-transformed Spotted Dusky, Shovelnose, Ocoee, or Blackbelly. This is also a reason to doubt Seepage salamander, but I offered that because Pygmy and Seepage are both very small and look somewhat alike (beside the chevrons) but Seepage are found in water, and more widespread in SE TN. Hope this helps!
 

taherman

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They are neither Pygmy, nor Seepage salamanders as both of these lack aquatic larval stages.

Very hard to tell from those photos, but possibly two-lined salamander larvae. The snout looks too long to be a Desmognathus.

Gills can be deceiving without magnification on tiny larvae, as in cold seepages they are so well oxygenated that the gills look nothing like the bushy obvious things you see in captive larvae.
 
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    Hey guys, its way too hot where I live right now. Temperatures 40 degree celcius outside, making it like 30 degrees inside. Ive got ice packs on my yellow spotted salamanders hidey rock, he acts like he hates it though. Am I keeping him too cold? I think my temp gauge might be messed up, or at least in the wrong spot. I put the tank temp gauge in the top left corner of his large tank, where it says its 80 degrees fahrenheit, which I am aware is too hot, which is what makes me put the ice packs on his rock at the bottom of the cage, but the bottom of his cage feels a lot cooler tha 80 degrees. Should I move my temp gauge down to the bottom corner where he hangs out the most? Should I get a soil temperature probe so I can tell what temperature the soil that hes laying on is?
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    Because his soil is certainly not 80 degrees fahrenheit, and I dont want to freeze the poor bugger with ice packs if he really doesnt need them. Hes been doing fine, but Im just so stressed because I cant get ANy information on how to handle this little guy. Theyre illegal to keep without a permit, but this one would not have survived without my intervention. So I cant call and ask anyone for help. If theres a betetr site than this one, I sure havent found it. But I never get any replies here. We are all just asking questions and getting none answered basically. Its really frustrating as I just want to help this little dude be happy and healthy. All I can get him to eat is potato bugs as well. I cant find anything else that he will eat. Is that even okay? :/ hes been eating strictly those since may first.
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    Does ANYONE know of a site more active than this where I can get my questions answered? My little bud needs help and Im just not getting it here.
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    Alright well I bought a bunch of stuff for his tank and hope it helps. Im getting extremelty frustrated that bI cant get an answer. Guess buddies just gonna have to die or some shit. like wtf why cant I get any help.
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    I'm afraid this is the largest and most active community for this kind of information, probably on the entire internet. That said, we are still small overall. We can't help you all of the time. We do offer you support and have answered your questions in the past so I feel it's very impolite to lose patience with us.
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  • Captive Bread:
    Second of all, was you who said you wild caught your salamander? And had Authorities threaten to retrieve it from you?
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    Third of all, assuming thats the case, no one seems to want to face the reality that these animals come from climates and microenvironments where they need to be kept cool. If you can't hack, then release it where you pulled it from.
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    he was dying outside. SO SORRY i was nice enough to save him. can i even release him in wetaher thats 40 degree celcius? will he not just die outside because he cant dig through the hard ground?
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    The ONLY reason I spent 500 dollars on this thing was to keep him alive. thats IT. He was completely dry with cracked skin and couldnt walk and I nursed him back to health. Now I should just throw him outside on the hard baked ground where I found him? in my driveway? Really dude?
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    I am losing patienc ebecause I care. Because I cant get any answers in any length of time that will actually benefit him. He'll only eat potato bugs, I just want him to have good rest of his life. Thats IT. So dont act like I went out an dillegally trapped some poor salamander out of the wild for fun cuz I wanted one.
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    I am very sure he was just trying to pass by, because he certainly cant dig ANYWHERE in the soil ANYWHERE near where I live. So I cannot just release him in 40 degree celcius on the super hard baked ground where theres no shelter and no food and now ater to be seen for miles. I dont see how that wioll help him at all.
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    @FragileCorpse, Watch your language please.
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    What did I say sorry? What word?
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    Sorry youre going to have to explain to me john becaue Ive reread what I wrote here and Im not seeing it,
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    Ill certainly apologize for using it, but to not use it I need to know what it is is all.
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