Other Amphibian of the Week

Blue Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma laterale)

Blue Spotted Salamander
photo by Henk Wallays

Common Name: Blue Spotted Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma laterale
Family: Ambystomatidae – Mole Salamander family
Location: Canada and USA
US Location: Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Vermont, and Wisconsin
Size: 3.9 – 5.5 inches (10 – 14 cm)

The beautiful Blue Spotted Salamander lives in the southeastern Canada and northeastern United States of America. The salamander belongs family Ambystomatidae, which is known as the Mole Salamanders. They received this nickname due to the fact that they spend most of their life in burrows in the ground.

The salamanders do come out of these burrows in the spring, when it is time to mate. They migrate to ponds to breed. The male lays a spermatophore at the base of the pond. The female picks up the spermatophore with her cloaca. In a few days she lays as many as 200 eggs. It takes around a month for the eggs to hatch and then it takes the rest of the summer for them to finalize their metamorphism. Then, they head onto land, only to return back to a pond in a few years to breed.

In some parts of their range, the Blue Spotted Salamander are part of all female hybrid populations. The females pick up the spermatophore but then discard the spermatophore’s genome. To make matters weirder, the spermatophore aren’t even from the same species.

photo by wikiuser IronChris

Blue Spotted Salamander Conservation

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List classifies the Blue Spotted Salamander as Least Concern for Extinction. They have a wide range and a stable population. Local populations face some troubles though. In New Jersey, they are listed as an Endangered Species. Their habitat is threatened by urban development.

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