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Blue-spotted Salamander - Ambystoma laterale

Characteristics
Range
Habitat
Diet
Life Cycle
Behavior

 Classification

 Phylum: Chordata
 Class:Amphibia
 Order: Caudata 
 Family: Ambystomatidae 
 Genus:  Ambystoma


blue-spotted salamander
ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least ConcernLeast Concern  
  Characteristics
blue-spotted salamanderThe blue-spotted salamander is a slender salamander three to five inches in length, with a long tail. It is gray to blue-black with blue spots on its sides, tail and legs. Its belly is lighter than its back. It has four toes on its front feet and five toes on its rear feet. It has 12 costal grooves (vertical grooves) on its body.

  Range
The blue-spotted salamander can be found in the eastern central United States and Canada east to the Atlantic provinces and northern New England and in the Great Lakes region.
  Habitat
The blue-spotted salamander can be found in deciduous and coniferous forests. It likes places with moist soil and small ponds. It often takes shelter in burrows or under damp leaves, moss or logs.
  Diet
The blue-spotted salamander eats a wide-variety of insects along with small invertebrates like slugs, earthworms, spiders, snails and centipedes.
  Life Cycle
In early spring, the blue-spotted salamander will migrate to vernal ponds. Males arrive first. Vernal ponds make good breeding grounds. Vernal ponds are temporary ponds that form in the spring when the snow melts. Vernal ponds or pools eventually dry out. This prevents predators that might eat the salamanders, like fish and frogs, from establishing themselves. The male will hold the female with his front legs and rub his chin on her head. He then deposits spermatophore (a packet of sperm) on the pond bottom. Next he tries to position the female over the sperm. If all goes well, she will take the sperm in and it will fertilize her eggs.

The female lays her eggs on the pond bottom. The eggs are attached to plants, rocks, logs or debris. Salamander larvae hatch in two to four weeks. They have external gills and no legs. Over time, legs develop and they will lose their external gills. While they are in their larval stage, they eat small crustaceans, worms and insects. The time it takes them to transform from a larvae to a salamander will vary depending on how much food is available.

  Behavior
The blue-spotted salamander is very secretive and usually only comes out from cover at night and during damp or rainy weather. It has glands on its tail that produces a milky toxin that it secretes when it is threatened. It curls its tail over its body when it is threatened. If a predator attacks, it will release the toxin into the predator's mouth.


 



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