Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) - Wiki
[Photo] Photograph of a Yellow Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum). Source: Photograph taken by Jared C. Benedict on 18 April 2004. Copyright: ?? Jared C. Benedict.
The Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) is a mole salamander common in the eastern United States and Canada.
As an amphibian, its skin is very sensitive and should NEVER be touched by human hands. We have salt and oils on our skin that never wash off and that can seriously harm any amphibian.
It can reach 19 cm long and has yellow spots on its back, though some specimens have no spots at all. Their primary habitat are deciduous forests with fish-free ponds or vernal pools for egg laying and larval development. They feed primarily on invertebrates like earthworms and slugs. They are primarily subterranean, though can be found beneath surface debris on cool, damp days.
The species was first described by George Shaw in 1802 in his General Zoology or Systematic Natural History. It is the State Amphibian of South Carolina.
This species begins to mate as soon as the snow melts in March or April. The adults follow creeks in their migration to temporary or permanent pools of water which are free of predatory fish. Adults breed in the same pond throughout their lifetime, with females laying 25 to 200 eggs in compact masses of jelly attached to underwater plants. The eggs take 31 to 54 days to hatch, depending on temperature. Once the larvae emerge, they require an additional 61 to 110 days before they leave the pond.
Spotted Salamanders prefer mature, moist woodlands with access to vernal pools for breeding. They spend most of the year in underground burrows, but are sometimes found under rotting logs or leaf litter. Small invertebrates, such as worms, insects, spiders, slugs, and snails are eaten.
Its distribution ranges from central and southern Ontario, Nova Scotia, P.E.I., mainland New Brunswick and south through the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. This species is widespread throughout the Great Lakes region and is found as far north as Sudbury.
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