Family Friday

Ambystomatidae – Mole Salamanders

Genera: 1 – Ambystoma
Number of Species: 32

Ambystomatidae is found in North America from southern Canada to Mexico. The family is nicknamed the Mole Salamanders because most of the members of the family live underground. Some of the members of the family are neotenic, where they retain larval traits like gills, which means they have to be in the water. The most famous example of this is the Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum).

Axolotl picture from LoKiLeCh

There are some species that have populations of both terrestrial and neotenic salamanders such as the Tiger Salamander.

The family also has unisexual populations where all the members are females. These females breed through kleptogenesis, where the females steal the sperm and use it to fertilize themselves. Then the eggs eject the male genome and develops with just the females.

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