Blue-spotted Salamander, Ambystoma laterale

The Blue-spotted salamander (Ambystoma laterale) is part of a group referred to as, Mole salamanders. A member of the Ambystomatidae family, the species ranges throughout eastern and central US and Canada.

The Blue-spotted salamander prefers seasonal woodlands and forests and finds shelter in wet, damp areas. Hiding under damp leaves, rocks, logs and moss, the salamander is able to find cover.

Mostly comprised of their long tail, the Blue-spotted salamander reaches lengths of 3.15 to 5 inches. Coloration is a solid gray or bluish-black, speckled with white spots. Their ventral (belly) side is a lighter shade than its back. The species have 4 front toes and 5 rear toes.

Typically Blue-spotted salamander feeds on an assortment of insects and small slugs, earthworms, spiders and snails. The species is secretive and shy by nature. Commonly, the salamander will only come out during nighttime or rainy, damp weather.

As a defense mechanism, the Blue-spotted salamander has glands lining its tail. These glands produce a milky toxin. The salamander will curl its tail over its body when threatened and the toxins will be released into its predator’s mouth.

A Blue-spotted salamander begins breeding during springtime in a vernal pond. This pond forms from melting snow. The female salamander will attach her eggs (12 per clutch) to plants, rocks, logs or debris at the bottom of the temporary pond. Blue-spotted salamanders are hatched as larvae, possessing external gills and no legs. After time it will develop further and transform into a salamander.

Image Caption: Blue-spotted salamander (Ambystoma laterale). Credit: IronChris/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0, 2.5, 2.0, 1.0)