Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)

Description: A chunky bodied black or dark gray salamander with two rows of round yellow spots running from head to tail. Rarely, spots are tan or white, or even absent. Sides are usually unspotted, and the belly is grayish to purplish. Adults are 4.3 to 9.8 inches (110.8 to 24.8 cm) long.

Spotted Salamander
Photo © Jim Harding

Habitat/Habits: Formerly found state wide, Spotted Salamanders prefer mature, moist woodlands with access to vernal ponds 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.

Breeding: Breeding habits are very similar to those of the Blue spotted Salamander, described above under "Salamander Reproduction." Spotted Salamander egg masses tend to be quite dense, and are often invaded by a harmless green algae. The eggs hatch in 20 to 60 days, and the larvae transform about 60 to 90 days later. Breeding size is reached in 3 to 5 years.

Conservation: This species requires fairly mature woodlands, and soon disappears when logging or development opens up the habitat, reducing humidity and eliminating traditional breeding sites. Becoming rare in many parts of Michigan.

Related Documents
Spotted Salamander Occurrences Map PDF icon