A slender and elongated salamander, usually with 15 riblike grooves on the sides. The head and neck are somewhat elongated compared to its close relatives. Above, the ground color ranges from dark brown to black. The belly is normally buff-yellow. Sides of the belly are covered with white and black mottling. A series of pale (dull white to yellow) rings usually extends over the back but may be broken at the midline. The rings never completely encircle the body.