Caudata

Field Guide to Maryland's Salamanders and Newts  (Order Caudata)


Seal Salamander

Family: Seal Salamander (Desmognathus monticola)

Common Name:
Seal Salamander

Scientific Name:
Desmognathus monticola

Adult photo courtesy of David Kazyak
Adult Photo of Seal Salamander courtesy of David Kazyak

Photo 1: Adult photo of Seal Salamander courtesy of Jay Kilian
Adult Photo of Seal Salamander courtesy of Jay Kilian


Size:
  • 3 ¼ - 5 in. 
  • Record – 5 ⅞ in.

Appearance:
  • Stout salamander with a keeled tail and pointed tip.
  • Mottled back that’s variable in color, usually dark brown or blackish markings on a gray or light brown background. 
  • The belly is white or light gray, with uniform gray or light brown markings. 
  • Sometimes, a single row of white dots appears on the sides, between the legs.

Habitat:

Habitat photo courtesy of Matt Kline
Habitat Photo for Seal Salamander courtesy of Matt Kline

  • Preferred habitat includes the rocky banks of mountain streams with well-aerated water. 
  • Cool, hardwood-shaded ravines and spring-fed brooks.
  • Always found close to water.
  • Burrows during the day.
  • At night, it can be found at the opening of its burrow in the stream bank or perched on a wet rock.

How to Find:

Distribution in Maryland:
Maryland Distribution Map of Seal Salamander