Spotted Salamander

(Ambystoma maculatum)

Distribution of the Spotted Salamander (from the AR MI Atlas)

An adult Spotted Salamander.

Description: A large (up to 8”) stout-bodied salamander with a dark ground color and two irregular rows of yellow spots down the body. Spots on the head may be yellow or orange. This salamander is distinctive and could only be confused with the Tiger Salamander, whose markings are in the form of blotches and not arranged in rows.

Distribution in Ohio: Widespread throughout the state, but records are lacking for many counties, especially in agriculture-dominated landscapes.

Status in Ohio: May be abundant where it occurs.

Habitat: Deciduous forests. The Spotted Salamander uses vernal pools for reproduction and spends the remainder of the year hidden in underground burrows or rotting logs.
Life history: Courtship, breeding, and egg-laying all occur underwater. Spotted salamanders migrate to breeding ponds with the onset of the first warm rains in late winter or early spring. Globular masses of 100 eggs or more are attached to twigs in the pond. The aquatic larvae hatch 4-7 weeks later and complete metamorphosis in the summer. Sexual maturity is probably reached in 4-5 years and Spotted Salamanders may live over 20 years.

Conservation: The Spotted Salamander relies on vernal pools for breeding and adjacent forested habitat for their adult life. Threats to this species include wetland filling and draining, introduction of fish to breeding ponds, pollutants, such as insecticides and herbicides, and loss of adult habitat.

Last modified:
Thursday, May 05, 2005

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