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Marbled Salamander

Ambystoma opacum


The first (and still the only) juvenile marbled salamander I have seen this year, after following the progress of hundreds of egg masses in vernal pools throughout Maryland and Virginia. It's a great feeling to find one of these guys at a site. If one of them made it to this stage, chances are good that there are many more survivors hiding underfoot :) Adult marbled salamanders are thick bodied with white or gray bands across a black to dark brown-black body. Newly transformed juveniles are brown or black with scattered light markings which may start out yellowish and become bluish to silvery white once out of the water. The juveniles acquire the crossband pattern of the adults after several weeks or months.


This individual was spotted under a large wet log on the edge of a vernal pool. These salamanders live in various wooded habitats, near swamps or vernal pools. Like other ambystomatids (mole salamander species), they spend most of their time underground in burrows and are infrequently seen outside of the breeding season.


Unlike most other mole salamanders, this species does not breed in water. Adult marbled salamanders breed only in dried up pools, ponds, and ditches, and females lay their eggs under the leaves there. The eggs hatch after the ponds refill.

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1 Comment

Rosa Maria
Rosa Maria 8 years ago


Spotted by

Maryland, USA

Spotted on Jul 8, 2015
Submitted on Jul 19, 2015

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