Other Amphibian of the Week

Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)

eastern tiger salamander

Common Name: Eastern Tiger Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma tigrinum
Family:  Ambystomatidae – Mole Salamander family
Location: United States, Canada, and Mexico
US Locations: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin
Size: 7 – 8.3 inches (18 – 21 cm); Record length 13 inches (33 cm)

The Eastern Tiger Salamander is the most widespread salamander species in North America, found from southern Canada down to northern Mexico, but it is hardly seen. The Tiger Salamander usually spends most of its life underground in burrows. The best options to see a wild one is either during / after rain or when they are breeding in water bodies.

Breeding takes place between November to May depending on locations. The Tiger Salamanders can migrate long distances to find temporary pools or fish-less ponds to breed in. They prefer to migrate back to the ponds where they were born. Once at the ponds, the male will perform courtship rituals where they push their head against the body of the female salamander. The females will lay her eggs attached to aquatic vegetation and the male will fertilize them. Females will lay between 23 – 110 eggs per clutch and lay between 5 – 8 clutches of eggs. Neither parent provides any care for the offspring. The larval salamanders take until the end of the summer to complete their metamorphosis.

Eastern Tiger Salamander

There are some Eastern Tiger Salamanders that are fully aquatic and neotenic, meaning they kept their larval features such as gills.

The Eastern tiger Salamander is listed as an endangered species in New York and New Jersey as well as threatened in North Carolina. The destruction of wetlands is the main reason for the declines.

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