Have you ever fished a dusky salamander out of a creek? My little cousin pulled this fella out of Soco Creek back in September. Ain’t it cute?! There are three types of dusky salamanders in North Carolina: southern, northern, and spotted. Based on where we found this one, I’m pretty sure it’s a spotted dusky salamander.
Spotted dusky salamanders are closely related to the Northern. So closely related that it’s easiest to identify them based on where they’re found. The Northern dusky lives in the piedmont and as far west as Haywood County – but the spotted dusky prefers the streams found in the extreme western part of the state. Predominately residing in Jackson, Swain, Macon, Graham, Clay, and Cherokee counties.
Due to the overlapping ranges of the spotted and Northern dusky salamanders, there may be hybridization in some locations. We found this guy close enough to the Haywood County border that it could be a hybrid.
We put our salamander friend back in the creek after admiring him. Hopefully, we’ll see him again next year when we head home to the mountains. 😉