Other Amphibian of the Week

Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)

Spotted Salamander
photo by Henk Wallays

Common Name: Spotted Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma maculatum
Family: Ambystomatidae– Mole Salamander Family
Location: United States and Canada
US States Locations: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia
Size: 5.9 to 9.8 inches (15–25 cm)

While the Spotted Salamander lives throughout most of the eastern United States and Canada, but it isn’t seen often because it spends most of it’s life under logs or the ground. Best time to spot them is after a heavy rain fall when they are traveling to ponds to breed. When they breed depends on where they are located, southern populations breed in December while northern populations breed in March and April. They breed in fish-less ponds to help protect the eggs from being eaten by the fish but they still have other threats. The Wood Frog’s (Rana sylvatica) tadpoles are known to eat the eggs of the salamander.

Spotted Salamander
photo by Scott Camazine

Interestingly, the Spotted Salamander eggs have a symbiotic relationship with green alga. The alga produces oxygen for the egg while the egg produces carbon dioxide for the alga. The Spotted Salamander is the state amphibian of both Ohio and South Carolina.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Spotted Salamander as Least Concern for Extinction. The salamanders have a wide range and are common throughout it.

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