Northern Dusky Salamander

Desmognathus fuscus

Distinguishing Characteristics

Photo: Trevor Persons

  • Moderately sized, approximately 2.5 to 4.5 inches in length
  • Highly variable coloration, but generally brownish, dark brown, or black, with a gray underside
  • May have light flecking along lower sides
  • Hind legs much thicker and stockier than front legs
  • Light diagonal line from behind eye to rear of jaw
  • Tail has a raised ridge along top to aid salamander in swimming

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Status and Distribution in Maine

  • Common
  • Southern, central, and northern regions

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  • Along the edges of rocky streams, springs, and seeps

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  • Carnivorous, feeds on small terrestrial or aquatic invertebrates such as insects, worms, spiders, and mollusks

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Seasonal Changes

  • Overwinters underground, below frost level, near streams, springs, and seeps

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Natural History Notes

  • Highly aquatic, one of three species of  "brook" or "stream" salamanders in Maine
  • Lays eggs under rocks or logs along the edges of stream

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Share Your Sighting

There is much still to learn about the distribution and ecology of Maine’s herpetofauna, and we encourage members of the public to share their photo-documented observations as part of the Maine Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project (MARAP).

To see if a township still needs documentation of a species, consult this distribution map (PDF). If a township lacks a photo or specimen record, we want your observation!

There are two ways to share your observations:

Submit your reptile or amphibian observation online

No service? No problem. Click here to download the survey to your device while connected, then take offline to collect observations from anywhere. Tip: The survey works best on Google Chrome and Safari.

Or upload sightings to the iNaturalist citizen science project through their website at or mobile app.

  1. When submitting an observation through iNaturalist add a description of the location (and other noteworthy information) to the “notes” field. This serves as a check on the locations automatically generated by smartphone cameras, which may be imprecise if cell service or GPS coverage is weak.

Thank you for doing your part to help conserve Maine’s reptiles and amphibians.