Desmognathus quadramaculatus Black-bellied Salamander
Unicoi State Park, White County, GeorgiaMay 6, 2004
Black-bellied Salamander (Desmognathus quadramaculatus)
I spent ten minutes or so trying to get this hyperactive salamander to sit still for a photograph. I found it under a rock at the edge of a stream. As soon as it was exposed, it leaped into the water, floated downstream about four or five feet, then lodged itself beneath an underwater rock. I then moved the new cover rock to expose it again, tried to grab it, and watched it flop and wriggle out of my hands and back into the stream. This slapstick adventure was repeated several times before we made a truce: it agreed to sit still on the shore for no more than ten seconds if I agreed to stop bothering it.
Sosebee Cove Scenic Area, Union County, GeorgiaMay 6, 2004
Black-bellied Salamander (Desmognathus quadramaculatus)
The genus Desmognathus, or Dusky Salamanders, contains a large number of species, many of which are very difficult to tell apart. The Black-bellied Salamander is one of the largest Desmognathus, and one of the least likely to sit still for a photograph. You've never seen a salamander squirm until you've seen a Black-bellied Salamander squirm.

This one is starting to regenerate a broken tail. The shape of the tail is one of the ways to tell various Desmognathus apart, but it's often not a very practical technique because the tails are frequently lost or damaged or just rubbed into a smooth generic shape.

Little River Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Sevier County, TennesseeMay 8, 2004
Black-bellied Salamander (Desmognathus quadramaculatus)
This large adult Black-bellied Salamander features a stardust pattern of light speckles.
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