Other Amphibian of the Week

Western Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma mavortium)

Western Tiger Salamander
photo by  Daiju Azuma

Common Name: Barred Tiger Salamander, Western Tiger Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma mavortium
Family: Ambystomatidae – Mole Salamander Family
Location: Canada and the United States
US Locations: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming
Size: 12 inches (30.48 cm)

The Western Tiger Salamander is the state amphibian of Colorado and Kansas. The salamander can be both fully aquatic and terrestrial.  Some of the adult salamanders never go through metamorphosis and keep their gills. This is called neoteny. The terrestrial salamanders spend most of their life underground but come to the surface to breed in ponds.

There are 4 commonly identified subspecies of the Barred Salamander. The Sonoran tiger salamander (Ambystoma mavortium stebbinsi) is found in the Huachuca and Patagonia Mountains of southeast Arizona. It is a protected species. The Gray tiger salamander (Ambystoma mavortium diaboli) is found in Canada in Manitoba and Saskatchewan down to South Dakota in the states.

Blotched Tiger Salamander

The Blotched tiger salamander (Ambystoma mavortium melanostictum) is found from Alberta and Saskatchewan to Colorado and Nebraska. Arizona tiger salamander (Ambystoma mavortium nebulosum) is found not only in Arizona but also Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Western Tiger Salamander as Least Concern for Extinction.

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