Other Amphibian of the Week

Ringed Salamander (Ambystoma annulatum)

ringed-salamander.jpg
photo by Peter Paplanus

least concern

Common Name: Ringed Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma annulatum
Family: Ambystomatidae – Mole Salamander family
Locations: Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma
Size: 10 inches (25.4 cm) max, generally 5.5  to 7 inches (14 – 18 cm)

The Ringed Salamander is found in the Ozark Plateau and Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Like most salamanders of the family Ambystomatidae, they are fossorial, spending most of their time hidden under ground, leaves, or logs. Hence why the family is often called the mole salamanders.

The best time to see the Ringed Salamander is fall from September to November, when they come out to breed. October is the best month to see them since that is when they are the most active breeding. Hundreds of individuals come to shallow, fish-less ponds to avoid any predators. Once courtship occurs, the male will lay a spermatophor on the bottom of the pond and the female will pick it up with her cloaca. The female then lays her eggs a few days later. A day or two later, the females between 5 and 40 eggs on the bottom of the pond. Eggs hatch anywhere from 9 to 16 days after being laid. The larval salamander will stay in the pond for 6 – 8 months (May to June) before completing its metamorphosis and move to land.

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