Desmognathus quadramaculatus (Holbrook, 1840)

Class: Amphibia > Order: Caudata > Family: Plethodontidae > Subfamily: Plethodontinae > Genus: Desmognathus > Species: Desmognathus quadramaculatus

Salamandra quadramaculata Holbrook, 1840, N. Am. Herpetol., 4: 121. Holotype: Specimen figured in pl. 26 of original; ANSP 490 according to Brame, 1972, Checklist Living & Fossil Salamand. World (Unpubl. MS): 160; thought to no longer exist by Dunn, 1926, Salamanders Fam. Plethodontidae: 64. Type locality: ". . . extended in the Atlantic states . . . common in Georgia and Carolina, and is an inhabitant of Pennsylvania", USA; restricted to "Great Smoky Mountains", USA, by Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 32; Valentine, 1974, Cat. Am. Amph. Rept., 153: 1, noted that this should be construed as the North Carolina, USA, side of the Great Smoky Mountains. Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 179, suggested that the type locality restriction is invalid and that (citing a personal comm. from D. B. Wake) this name may not apply to the species to which it is currently allocated but instead to Desmognathus fuscus. The evidence for this conjecture was not presented. 

Salamandra maculo-quadrata Holbrook, 1840, N. Am. Herpetol., 4: pl. 28. Alternative original name. See discussion by Adler, 1976, Holbrook’s N. Am. Herpetol.: xl.

Salamandra quadrimaculataHolbrook, 1842, N. Am. Herpetol., Ed. 2, 5: 49. Spelling error.

Ambystome quadrimaculatus — Duméril, Bibron, and Duméril, 1854, Erp. Gen., 9: 109. Incorrect subsequent spelling of Ambystoma and quadramaculatus.

Plethodon quadrimaculatus — Hallowell, 1856, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 8: 11.

Desmognathus quadrimaculataStejneger, 1902, Proc. U.S. Natl. Mus., 26: 557.

Desmognathus quadrimaculatusBrimley, 1907, J. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc., 23: 154.

Desmognathus quadramaculataDunn, 1917, Proc. U.S. Natl. Mus., 53: 401.

Desmognathus quadramaculatus amphileucus Bishop, 1941, Occas. Pap. Mus. Zool. Univ. Michigan, 451: 12. Holotype: UMMZ 89767, by original designation. Type locality: "Demorest, Habersham County, Georgia", USA. Subspecies status rejected by Pope, 1949, Nat. Hist. Misc., 44: 1–4. See also Neill, 1948, Copeia, 1948: 218, who redelimited the race.

Desmognathus quadramaculatus quadramaculatusBishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 210.

Desmognathus quadramaculatus amphileucusBishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 214.

Desmognathus (Leurognathus) quadramaculatusDubois and Raffaëlli, 2012, Alytes, 28: 145. See comment under Desmognathus for status of subgenus. 

English Names

Mountain Triton (Desmognathus quadramaculatus: Brimley, 1907, J. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc., 23: 154).

Black-bellied Salamander (Desmognathus quadramaculatus quadramaculatus: Bishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 210).

White-headed Salamander (Desmognathus quadramaculatus amphileucus: Bishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 214).

Black-bellied Salamander (Desmognathus quadramaculatus: Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 30; Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 174; Conant, 1975, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. Cent. N. Am., Ed. 2: 266; Crother, Boundy, Campbell, de Queiroz, Frost, Highton, Iverson, Meylan, Reeder, Seidel, Sites, Taggart, Tilley, and Wake, 2001 "2000", Herpetol. Circ., 29: 21; Tilley, Highton, and Wake, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 16; Tilley, Highton, and Wake, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 26; Powell, Conant, and Collins, 2016, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. North Am., 4th ed.: 50; Highton, Bonett, and Jockusch, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 26).

Blackbelly Salamander (Desmognathus quadramaculatus: Collins, Huheey, Knight, and Smith, 1978, Herpetol. Circ., 7:5; Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 31 Collins, 1997, Herpetol. Circ., 25: 6).

Common Blackbelly Salamander (Desmognathus quadramaculatus: Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 12).


From Monroe County, West Virginia eastward to Henry County, Virginia, and southward through eastern Tennessee, western North and South Carolina to northeastern Georgia, in the Appalachian Mountains, USA.


See detailed accounts by Valentine, 1974, Cat. Am. Amph. Rept., 153: 1–4, and Petranka, 1998, Salamand. U.S. Canada: 206–213. Rissler and Taylor, 2003, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 27: 197–211, presented molecular evidence that suggests that this nominal species is a composite of cryptic species, forming a paraphyletic series with respect to Desmognathus marmoratus. Beachy and Bruce, 2003, Amphibia-Reptilia, 24: 13-26, reported on a miniturized populations in the Bald Mountains of North Carolina, USA. Watson, Pauley, and Camp, 2005, in Lannoo (ed.), Amph. Declines: 723–726, provided an account containing a detailed summary of the literature and range. Jones, Voss, Ptacek, Weisrock, and Tonkyn, 2006, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 38: 280–287, and Wooten and Rissler, 2011, Acta Herpetol., Firenze, 6: 175–208, suggested that neither Desmognathus marmoratus nor Desmognathus quadramaculatus are monophyletic, instead being species complexes composed of multiple inter-related lineages. See comment under Desmognathus marmoratus for additional relevant literature. Raffaëlli, 2013, Urodeles du Monde, 2nd ed.: 430, provided a brief account, photograph, and range map. Altig and McDiarmid, 2015, Handb. Larval Amph. US and Canada: 106–107, provided an account of larval morphology. 

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