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Trail Sign #8

Updated: Mar 2

Blue-spotted Salamander

Location (SLURL)

Edibility Factor: None! The skin of the Blue-spotted Salamander is poisonous. Do not lick the Salamander! Also, the Blue-Spotted Salamander is protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The Blue-spotted Salamander (Ambystoma laterale) is a species native to North America, primarily found in the eastern parts of Canada and the United States. Belonging to the family Ambystomatidae, it is closely related to other members of the mole salamander genus, such as the Jefferson salamander and the spotted salamander.

One of the most striking features of the Blue-spotted Salamander is its vibrant blue spots that adorn its sleek black or dark gray body. These iridescent spots contrast beautifully against its otherwise dark coloration, serving as a form of camouflage in its natural habitat. Additionally, its slender body and long tail contribute to its graceful appearance, allowing it to navigate through the leaf litter with ease.

Blue-spotted Salamanders are predominantly terrestrial creatures, preferring moist woodland habitats with ample cover such as leaf litter, fallen logs, and underground burrows. They are nocturnal by nature, venturing out under the cover of darkness to forage for small invertebrates like worms, insects, and slugs.

During the breeding season, typically in late winter or early spring, Blue-spotted Salamanders migrate to vernal pools or other temporary bodies of water to breed. Females deposit their eggs in clusters attached to submerged vegetation, where they hatch into aquatic larvae. These larvae undergo metamorphosis over several weeks, eventually emerging as terrestrial juveniles.

As with many amphibian species, Blue-spotted Salamanders play a crucial role in their ecosystems. As predators of various invertebrates, they help control populations of pests like insects and slugs, thus contributing to the overall balance of forest ecosystems. Additionally, they serve as prey for larger animals, forming an essential link in the food chain.

Despite their ecological importance, Blue-spotted Salamanders face numerous threats to their survival. Habitat loss and fragmentation due to urbanization, agriculture, and deforestation pose significant challenges to their populations. Pollution, introduction of invasive species, and climate change further exacerbate these threats, putting this animal at risk.


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