Marbled Salamander

ANIMAL:
Marbled Salamander Ambystoma opacum

Type of Animal:
Salamander

Habitat:
Woodlands/forests, ponds, floodplain pools, moist sandy areas, hillsides, burrows, tunnels, under logs/leaf litter/bark/stones, under trash, low-lying floodplains, wooded hillsides, fishless temporary wetlands, vernal pools, ditches, places w/ soft wet soil, seasonally flooded areas, quarries, Carolina bays, red maple/oak/hickory woodland near slow-moving streams, swampy areas, seasonal wetlands, intact forested floodplains, dry sandy soil areas, rocky slopes

Location(s):
Found from E Texas & SE Oklahoma to N Florida & as far NE as S New Hampshire-basically E half of US

Appearance:
Stocky boldly banded salamander-females have grayer bands, males have whiter bands, black ground color, efts dull brown to black w/ scattered light flecks

Food/Diet:
Insects, insect larvae, worms, slugs, snails, centipedes, millipedes, isopods, fairy shrimp, brine shrimp nauplii, amphibian larvae (including each other), spiders, zooplankton (biggest component of larval diet), amphipods, cyclops

Status in Wild:
Stable

Conservation:
Breeding in zoos, aquariums, & herpetoculture

Lifestyle:
Solitary

Additional Info:

Called:
Male
Female
Young: Eft
Group: Solitary
 
Weight:
Male: 0.4 oz
Female: 0.5 oz

Gestation:
1-4 weeks 

Life Span:
4-10 years

Body Length:
Male: 4 in
Female: 4.5 in
Young: 1.97 in

Tail Length:
Male: 1.6 in
Female: 1.8-2 in
Young: 0.788 in

Main predators of adults are snakes, owls, kingfishers, wading birds, raccoons, skunks, weasels, shrews, opossums, larger amphibians, predatory fish (why they only use fishless wetlands), & alligators. Larvae often eat each other & many fish as well as other amphibians also eat larvae. Other larvae predators are dragonfly naiads, spiders, dytiscid beetles, & giant water bugs. Many beetles & millipedes prey on eggs.
 
Females lay 30-200 eggs per clutch & remains w/ them until moist/covered w/ water. Tadpoles hatch after 1-4 weeks. Larvae fully aquatic & take 2-9 months to metamorphose (when they lose gills). After metamorphosis, they’re in terrestrial juvenile eft stage until a year old, when maturity reached. Metamorphosis quicker in warmer environments.
 
Live much of their life underground.
 
They breed in the fall.
 
Poisonous glands on tail help protect it from predators.
 
Active at night (nocturnal).
 
Males attract females w/ circular dance & tail movements.
 
Often inactive in summer & winter, though in warmer parts of range many active in winter.
 
Also called Banded Salamander.
 
Males arrive at breeding sites a week before females.

Fun Fact(s):
State salamander of North Carolina.
 
Sometimes kept as pets.
 
Scientific name means cup-mouthed & shaded/dull.
 
Unlike many salamanders, they often mate on land.
Marbled Salamander, stock photo

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