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California Tiger Salamander-Ambystoma californiense

Characteristics
Range
Habitat
Diet
Life Cycle
Behavior

 Classification

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


California Tiger Salamander
ICUN Redlist - World Status: Vulnerable Vulnerable
US Status: Endangered in US Endangered
 
  Characteristics
California Tiger SalamanderThe California tiger salamander is 6 to 8.5 inches long. It has a thick body and tail and a round snout. It is black with cream to yellow spots. Its belly is gray and may have some small yellow spots on it. It usually has 12 costal grooves (vertical grooves) on its body.

  Range
mapThe California tiger salamander can be found in the Central Valley of California and its bordering foothills, coastal grasslands and seasonal wetlands. Its numbers have dropped due to habitat loss, predation from crayfish and bullfrogs, being hit by cars during migration and interbreeding with the non-native tiger salamanders. It is an endangered species in Sonoma County and Santa Barbara County and a threatened species in the rest of its range.
  Habitat
The California tiger salamander lives in underground areas near ponds, in grasslands and open woodlands. It likes areas with a climate of cool, wet winters and hot, dry summers.
  Diet
The California tiger salamander eats earthworms, snails, insects and fish.
  Life Cycle
During the rainy season in January and February, the California tiger salamander migrates to large vernal ponds to mate. The female lays one egg at a time and attaches it to a twig, grass stem or other underwater vegetation. The eggs are surrounded by a jelly-like substance. The larvae hatch in two to four weeks. They are a yellowish-gray and have feathery external gills and dorsal fins. They will change into salamanders in about two and a half to three months. While the larvae are small they feed on microscopic organisms. As they get larger they feed on tiny crustaceans and aquatic insect larvae.

  Behavior
The California tiger salamander spends the summer underground in ground squirrel burrows. After the first few heavy rains in the fall, they come out of their burrows and migrate to breeding pools.

 


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