Desmognathus monticola — Seal Salamander
There are three large species of Desmognathus found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Seal Salamanders, Black-bellied Salamanders, and Shovel-nosed Salamanders. I'm reasonably confident that this fellow is a Seal Salamander, but it's not inconceivable that I've identified it incorrectly. If you can confirm or deny, please send me email, and please tell me your reasoning.
Here's another adult. This one was under a rock right at a stream's edge, and was briefly willing to pose on dry land.
A colony of these salamanders was living in the splash zone where a thin stream trickled down over some wet boulders and formed a tiny thin waterfall about a foot high. They were remarkably hard to photograph, because they would jump quickly into the gaps between rocks when exposed, and then squirm away instantly. This first one was perhaps the smallest salamander I've ever seen.
- Behler, J. L., King, F. W. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles & Amphibians
- Conant, R., Collins, J. T. 1998. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Third Edition, expanded
- Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding, Eighth Edition
- Petranka, J. W. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada