The Black-bellied salamander can be found in the southeastern United States, extending from the mountainous regions in southern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia to eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, northern Georgia and western South Carolina.
Black-bellied salamanders inhabit mountainous regions at elevations of 1600 t0 5000 feet, and can be found in small, perennial streams and waterfalls where water can seep through. They burrow under rocks during the day and will emerge during the night to hunt for food. These salamanders have also been observed basking on sun exposed rocks during the day.
Black-bellied salamanders are medium-sized, sturdily built salamanders with short, curled tails and 14 coastal grooves alongside the body. They are the largest species of the Desmognathus genus, averaging around 4-7 inches long. These salamanders are primarily black or brown in color with two rows of white spots on each side of its body. Although their undersides are typically black in color, younger individuals may have pale yellow or white flecks. Black-bellied salamanders are extremely territorial of their ranges and use chemical cues to ward off predators, which is secreted through their cloacal glands or as feces.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians