Blue-spotted Salamander - Ambystoma laterale
The 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.
The blue-spotted salamander is found in the eastern central United States and Canada east to the Atlantic provinces in Canada and northern New England and in the Great Lakes region. The blue-spotted salamander is found throughout New Hampshire.
In early spring, the blue-spotted salamander migrates 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 in the pond. The male holds the female with his front legs and rubs 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 takes the sperm in and it fertilizes her eggs.
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. If a predator attacks, it curls its tail over its body and releases the toxin into the predator's mouth!