Overview

Distribution

endemic to a single nation

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)) Southwestern Pennsylvania southwest in uplands through West Virginia, western Maryland, western and northern Virginia, eastern Kentucky, western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, western South Carolina, and northern Georgia to central Alabama and disjunctly to southern Alabama and the extreme western tip of the Florida panhandle (Conant and Collins 1991, Petranka 1998). Evidently does not occur north or west of the Ohio River in the northern part of the range.

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Range Description

This species can be found in the eastern USA from southwestern Pennsylvania southwest in uplands through West Virginia, western Maryland, western and northern Virginia, eastern Kentucky, western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, western South Carolina, and northern Georgia to central Alabama and disjunctive to southern Alabama and the extreme western tip of the Florida panhandle (Conant and Collins 1991, Petranka 1998). Evidently it does not occur north or west of the Ohio River in the northern part of the range.
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Physical Description

Size

Length: 15 cm

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Type Information

Holotype for Desmognathus monticola
Catalog Number: USNM 38313
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1908
Locality: Elk Lodge Lake, near Brevard, Transylvania, North Carolina, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 914 to 914
  • Holotype: Dunn, E. R. 1916. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington. 29: 73.
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Paratype for Desmognathus monticola
Catalog Number: USNM 38326
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1908
Locality: Elk Lodge Lake, near Brevard, Transylvania, North Carolina, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 914 to 914
  • Paratype: Dunn, E. R. 1916. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington. 29: 73.
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Paratype for Desmognathus monticola
Catalog Number: USNM 38325
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1908
Locality: Elk Lodge Lake, near Brevard, Transylvania, North Carolina, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 914 to 914
  • Paratype: Dunn, E. R. 1916. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington. 29: 73.
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Paratype for Desmognathus monticola
Catalog Number: USNM 38324
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1908
Locality: Elk Lodge Lake, near Brevard, Transylvania, North Carolina, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 914 to 914
  • Paratype: Dunn, E. R. 1916. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington. 29: 73.
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Paratype for Desmognathus monticola
Catalog Number: USNM 38323
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1908
Locality: Elk Lodge Lake, near Brevard, Transylvania, North Carolina, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 914 to 914
  • Paratype: Dunn, E. R. 1916. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington. 29: 73.
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Paratype for Desmognathus monticola
Catalog Number: USNM 38322
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1908
Locality: Elk Lodge Lake, near Brevard, Transylvania, North Carolina, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 914 to 914
  • Paratype: Dunn, E. R. 1916. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington. 29: 73.
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Paratype for Desmognathus monticola
Catalog Number: USNM 38321
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1908
Locality: Elk Lodge Lake, near Brevard, Transylvania, North Carolina, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 914 to 914
  • Paratype: Dunn, E. R. 1916. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington. 29: 73.
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Paratype for Desmognathus monticola
Catalog Number: USNM 38320
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1908
Locality: Elk Lodge Lake, near Brevard, Transylvania, North Carolina, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 914 to 914
  • Paratype: Dunn, E. R. 1916. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington. 29: 73.
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Paratype for Desmognathus monticola
Catalog Number: USNM 38316
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1908
Locality: Elk Lodge Lake, near Brevard, Transylvania, North Carolina, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 914 to 914
  • Paratype: Dunn, E. R. 1916. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington. 29: 73.
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Paratype for Desmognathus monticola
Catalog Number: USNM 38315
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1908
Locality: Elk Lodge Lake, near Brevard, Transylvania, North Carolina, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 914 to 914
  • Paratype: Dunn, E. R. 1916. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington. 29: 73.
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Paratype for Desmognathus monticola
Catalog Number: USNM 38314
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1908
Locality: Elk Lodge Lake, near Brevard, Transylvania, North Carolina, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 914 to 914
  • Paratype: Dunn, E. R. 1916. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington. 29: 73.
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Mountain streams, small rocky spring-fed brooks in hardwood- shaded ravines, seepeages, muddy section of streams. Hides under rocks or moss, and in burrows in mud banks. Sometimes perches on wet rocks. Eggs are laid on undersides of rocks or leaves in water or seepages; also under or in logs near water.

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It can be found in mountain streams, small rocky spring-fed brooks in hardwood-shaded ravines, seepages, muddy section of streams. Hides under rocks or moss, and in burrows in mud banks. Sometimes perches on wet rocks. Eggs are laid on undersides of rocks or leaves in water or seepages; also under or in logs near water.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Occasionally eats small salamanders.

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Population Biology

Global Abundance

100,000 - 1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but likely exceeds 100,000.

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 17.7 years (captivity)
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Reproduction

Females with 15-40 eggs have been seen June-October. Oviposition probably is concentrated in July in western North Carolina (Bruce and Hairston 1990). Eggs hatch late summer to early fall. Larval period varies in length, includes aquatic phase. In western North Carolina, larval period lasts 9-10 months, August-September to May-June; sexually mature usually not sooner than 2 years after metamorphosis; male require 4-5 years to attain sexual maturity, females first oviposit at 5-7 years (Bruce 1989; Castanet et al. 1996, Herpetologica 52:160-171; Bruce et al. 2002). See Bruce and Hairston (1990) for further information on life history of North Carolina populations.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Desmognathus monticola

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 23
Specimens with Barcodes: 24
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Desmognathus monticola

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 51 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

TTATTGGGAGAT---GATCAAATTTATAATGTAATCGTTACAGCCCACGCATTTGTAATAATTTTTTTTATGGTAATACCAATTATAATCGGGGGATTTGGAAATTGACTGCTTCCACTAATA---ATTGGAGCACCAGACATAGCCTTTCCACGAATAAATAACATAAGCTTTTGGCTATTACCACCCTCACTCCTTCTTTTATTGGCTTCATCTGGGGTTGAAGCTGGAGCCGGAACCGGATGAACAGTATATCCCCCCTTAGCAGGAAATATGGCTCATGCAGGAGCCTCTGTAGATTTA---ACAATTTTTTCACTTCACTTAGCTGGAGTATCATCTATTTTAGGCGCCATTAAT---ATTACAACCTCCATTAATATAAAACCACCATCAATATCACAGTATCAAACACCCTTATTTGTT---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------GGT---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------CAG------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------TTT
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Secure in most the the historical range in the Appalachian region of the eastern United States.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2004

Assessor/s
Geoffrey Hammerson

Reviewer/s
Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable to decline of 30%

Comments: Likely stable to slightly declining, but supporting data are not available. In the southern Appalachians, populations fluctuated over a 20-year period (early 1970s to early 1990s), with no apparent long-term trend (Hairston and Wiley 1993).

Global Long Term Trend: Increase of 10-25% to decline of 30%

Comments: Likely relatively stable, but supporting data are not available.

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Population

Population
Total adult population size is unknown but probably exceeds 100,000. In the southern Appalachians, populations fluctuated over a 20-year period (early 1970s to early 1990s), with no apparent long-term trend (Hairston and Wiley 1993).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Degree of Threat: Unknown

Comments: No major pervasive threats are known.

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Major Threats
No major pervasive threats are known.
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Management

Management Requirements: Avoid impoundment of mountain streams, clearcutting, and intensive harvesting along streamcourses. Uncut buffers should be maintained along upland streams.

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Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
None needed. It occurs in many protected areas.
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Wikipedia

Seal salamander

The seal salamander (Desmognathus monticola) is a species of lungless salamander native to the mid- and southeastern United States. Its habitat includes rocky mountain streams, spring-fed brooks in the ravines of deciduous forests, muddy sections of streams and seepages. In these areas they are typically found hiding under rocks or moss, or burrowing into muddy banks. They can also be occasionally observed perching on wet rocks. They most commonly lay their eggs under rocks or leaves in the water, but they may lay them beneath or inside of logs near the water's edge. The total adult population size of the species is assumed to exceed 100,000. The adults are less colorful than the younger ones. The larva stage lasts for nine to ten months.

Distribution

The seal salamander can be found from southwestern Pennsylvania and south through areas of high elevation in West Virginia, western Maryland, western and northern Virginia, eastern Kentucky, western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, western South Carolina, and northern Georgia to central Alabama. There are also disjunctive populations in southern Alabama as well as at the very western end of the Florida panhandle. In the north of its range, it has not been observed north or west of the Ohio River.

In addition, an introduced population is present in Benton County, Arkansas.[1]

References

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Two subspecies, MONTICOLA and JEFFERSONI, have been recognized by some authors. The latter has been thought to be confined to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, but Folkerts (1968) noted several indications of intermediacy between the two described forms in Alabama, thus casting doubt on the validity of these subspecific designations. Because of the evident taxonomic uncertainty, Mount (1975) chose not to assign Alabama populations to subspecies. Recent major accounts of the species and subspecies of North American amphibians and reptiles (Collins 1990; Conant and Collins 1991) regarded D. MONTICOLA as having no valid subspecies.

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