Spotted Salamander

Ambystoma maculatum

Tom Gula

Spotted Salamanders are large salamanders, sometimes growing over nine inches long.

Their skin is bluish-black or dark gray, and they have two rows of round yellow or orange spots down their backs. Their bellies are slate gray.

Spotted Salamanders live in forests where there are pools of water in the Spring, or nearby ponds.

Adult Spotted Salamanders spend most of their time underground.

Copyright, Mamoru Kawamura

Mark Moran

Spotted Salamanders breed in March and April, after temperatures begin to get warmer and heavy rains have fallen.

Adults go to breeding pools or ponds to mate. Females then lay a milky egg mass, up to four inches across. She attaches it to underwater sticks or plant stems.

Salamander larvae hatch in a month or two, depending on temperatures. Larvae are about 1/2 inch when they are born. They look a lot like tadpoles except they have feathery gills branching out from their heads.

Copyright, Sorin Damian

R. Wayne Van Devender

Larvae will transform into adults in two to four months. Until that time they will continue living in water, eating insect larvae, water fleas, and other small creatures. If there isn't enough food, they will even eat each other.

When they leave the water as adults, the young salamanders are about two and a half inches long. They will burrow under logs and rocks where they can keep their skin moist. Without moisture, Spotted Salamanders will dry out and die.

As adults, Spotted Salamanders eat earthworms, snails, slugs, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, isopods, and insects.

Some of this salamander's predators include: skunks, raccoons, turtles, chipmunks, squirrels, opossums, and snakes.

As eggs and larvae, salamanders are eaten by fish, turtles, aquatic insects, birds, frogs, and crayfish.

Copyright, Richard Glor

Mark Moran

Soon after egg masses are laid, they get covered with green algae, which helps camouflage them from predators.

Spotted Salamanders can live up to 20 years.

Additional Media

Description
Type
Credit
Young Spotted Salamander
Video
Mark Moran
Download Quicktime if you are unable to play video.

Relationships in Nature:

PREY
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Asian Tiger Mosquito

Raccoon

Green Algae

Green Algae C

Water Flea

Belted Kingfisher

Tussock Sedge

Soil Mite C

Stagnant Pond Snail

Great Blue Heron

Common Cattail

Leopard Slug

Mallard

Yellow Pond Lily

North American Millipede

Yellow Perch

Common Duckweed

Isopod

Creek Chub

Long-leaf Pondweed

Garden Centipede

Large Diving Beetle

Greater Bladderwort

Rabid Wolf Spider

Eastern Dobsonfly

White Cushion Moss

Earthworm

Green Darner

Virginia Creeper

Common Black Ground Beetle

Freshwater Leech

Cinnamon Fern

Patent-leather Beetle

Bullfrog

Poison Ivy

Fiery Searcher

Virginia Opossum

Spotted Jewelweed

Black Carpenter Ant

Common Crow

Hydrilla

Eastern Subterranean Termite

Striped Skunk

Lizard's Tail

Snow Flea

Northern Ringneck Snake

Pickerelweed

Scud

Common Snapping Turtle

Bracken Fern

Eastern Dobsonfly

Crayfish

Japanese Honeysuckle

Dogday Harvestfly

Eastern Chipmunk

Running Cedar

Crane Fly

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Eastern Worm Snake

Eastern Worm Snake

Relationship to Humans:

Spotted Salamanders are very helpful to people as controllers of insect populations. As larvae, swimming in the water, they eat mosquito larvae and other pesky insects. As adults, they continue to eat insects on land, as well as slugs and other creatures.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Chordate
CLASS
Amphibians
ORDER
Caudata
FAMILY
Ambystomidae
GENUS
Ambystoma
SPECIES
Ambystoma maculatum

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