Pygmy Salamander
Desmognathus wrighti

Photo by Grant Connette

Description: The pygmy salamander is a tiny salamander.  Although the coloration of the back is variable, all individuals have an obvious chevron pattern down the back.  As in most Desmognathus, a light line is present from the eye to the back of the jaw.

Habitat/Range: The pygmy salamander is found throughout the southern Appalachians and is typically associated with high elevation spruce-fir forests. This species is the most terrestrial species in the genus Desmognathus and may be found on the forest floor, often far from water. Individuals may even be found perched on leaves, stems, and tree trunks.

Reproduction: Pygmy salamanders deposit eggs around headwater streams or in underground retreats. The female guards the eggs until they hatch. Pygmy salamanders do not have an aquatic larval stage and the young hatch from eggs as miniature adults.

Miscellaneous: Pygmy salamanders are most active at night, especially during rainfall. Pygmy salamanders seem to be more abundant at locations without a history of habitat disturbance.


Back to Salamanders of North Carolina
Back to Herps of North Carolina

The shaded region represents the range of the pygmy salamander in North Carolina.

Notice the chevron pattern down the back.
Photo by Grant Connette

A pygmy salamander perched on a leaf.
Photo by Grant Connette

Photo by Grant Connette

Photo by D Dennis

Photo by D Dennis

This website created by: J. Willson, Y. Kornilev, W. Anderson, G. Connette and E. Eskew.
For comments or questions contact M. Dorcas:
M. Dorcas homepage:
Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina 28035-7118.

Partial Funding for this website provided by a Associate Colleges of the South, National Science Foundation, and Duke Energy.