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Spotted Salamander Visually stunning, this stout salamander was bluish-black and had two rows of yellow spots extending from head to tail. It was about 15 cm long (6 in)!  They secrete a milky white toxin when disturbed in order to dissuade predators. As soon as I lifted the rotting log that it was under, it started to secrete the toxin even though it still appeared to be hibernating.<br />
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**I found this salamander under a chunk of rotting wood in a mixed forest. I gently used a leaf to move it onto a piece of the wood so that I could take a couple pictures. Then, I moved it back to its original location. Ambystoma,Ambystoma maculatum,Geotagged,Spotted Salamander,Spotted salamander,Spring,United States,mole salamander,salamander,yellow-spotted salamander Click/tap to enlarge PromotedSpecies introCountry intro

Spotted Salamander

Visually stunning, this stout salamander was bluish-black and had two rows of yellow spots extending from head to tail. It was about 15 cm long (6 in)! They secrete a milky white toxin when disturbed in order to dissuade predators. As soon as I lifted the rotting log that it was under, it started to secrete the toxin even though it still appeared to be hibernating.

**I found this salamander under a chunk of rotting wood in a mixed forest. I gently used a leaf to move it onto a piece of the wood so that I could take a couple pictures. Then, I moved it back to its original location.

    comments (9)

  1. Whoa, what a beauty, and so large!
    Thank you also for the disclaimer, this kind of transparency sets a good example.
    Posted one year ago
    1. Thanks and you’re welcome! I’m used to seeing smaller salamanders, so the size of this one shocked me; but, this species can reach 25 cm long! I generally try not to move or handle creatures so that my encounters are natural and also so that I don’t traumatize them. Posted one year ago
      1. Same here, and not moving subjects is complying with the most strict ethical code.

        Not moving is my standard operating model, where case by case I sometimes make an exception, or in many cases a local guide does before I have a say in it. I think it is OK to move with care.

        As strange as it sounds, I'm much more strict in not moving insects, especially those that do not fly. The way I imagine it is that if I would move it a few feet, it's almost equivalent to picking up a human and dropping it in the next country.
        Posted one year ago
        1. Completely agree! Posted one year ago
  2. Nice capture! I had missed this one :-) Posted one year ago
    1. Thanks Marta :-D Posted one year ago
  3. From today's Facebook post:

    The visually stunning spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) makes its home in the deciduous forests of eastern North America. Adults are black with two rows of yellow spots extending from head to tail. They grow up to 25 cm (10 in) long! Not only are they big and beautiful, but they have some really cool features.

    Ironically, despite their large size and bright, yellow spots, these salamanders are hard to spot. They are elusive and fossorial, which means that they spend most of their lives hidden underground, in burrows, or under logs. They only emerge at night to feed and during spring to mate.

    During very early spring, the adults exit hibernation and migrate to temporary vernal pools to mate and lay eggs. Interestingly, spotted salamander eggs contain a symbiotic green alga, Oophila amblystomatis. The algae consume the carbon dioxide produced by the salamander embryos and turn it into oxygen, which the embryos can use. This is the only known example of vertebrate cells hosting an endosymbiont microbe! The eggs hatch into aquatic larvae, 90% of which will die before completing development. The larvae that are lucky enough to survive will emerge from the water as juveniles. Both juveniles and adults are terrestrial. And, they can live to be 30 years old!

    Adult spotted salamanders have several methods of defense against predators. First, the obvious – they can run and hide. But, they can also perform self-amputation (autotomy) of their tail. And, if a predator manages to dismember them, the salamanders can regenerate their tail, legs, organs, and part of their head and brain! Finally, as you may have noticed in this photo, they can secrete a milky, white toxin from their skin in order to dissuade predators. There is truly nothing boring about these salamanders! {Spotted in Connecticut, USA by JungleDragon moderator, Christine Young} #JungleDragon #salamander #spottedsalamander #Ambystomamaculatum
    Posted one month ago
    1. Amazing animal! Posted one month ago
      1. Thanks, they sure are! Posted one month ago

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The spotted salamander or yellow-spotted salamander is a mole salamander common in the eastern United States and Canada. The spotted salamander is the state amphibian of Ohio and South Carolina. This salamander ranges from Nova Scotia, to Lake Superior, to southern Georgia and Texas. Its embryos have been found to have symbiotic algae living inside them.

Similar species: Salamanders
Species identified by Christine Young
View Christine Young's profile

By Christine Young

All rights reserved
Uploaded Apr 21, 2018. Captured Apr 21, 2018 14:06 in 281 Main St S, Woodbury, CT 06798, USA.
  • Canon EOS 80D
  • f/5.0
  • 1/256s
  • ISO400
  • 100mm