The Blue-spotted Salamander is the smallest of Vermont’s three mole salamanders. Mole salamanders spend most of their lives underground (like moles) except when migrating to and from breeding wetlands, pools, and ponds. They all have sturdy bodies and strong legs. They grow to 5 inches long and are black with small light blue spots on their backs and sides.
This species has historically hybridized with Jefferson Salamanders and a wide variety of hybrids can be found. This sometimes makes identification difficult.
Pure Blue-spotted Salamanders lay single gelatinous eggs, but hybrids reportedly deposit masses with up to 12 eggs.
Blue-spotted Salamanders are found in lower elevations in or near flood plains, semi-permanent pools, marshes, shrub swamps, or forested red maple/cedar swamps. In Vermont, this species is found primarily in the Champlain lowlands with scattered populations elsewhere.
This species has a state natural heritage rank of S3 (uncommon, localized). The Blue-spotted Salamander has been designated a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (medium priority) in Vermont’s Wildlife Action Plan. Please report all sightings of this species in Vermont. Take photos if possible. Even historic sighting information is useful.
- Ambystoma laterale at Animal Diversity website
- Ambystoma laterale at Amphibiaweb
- Ambystoma laterale at the Canadian Herpetological Society website
- Ambystoma laterale in the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Action Plan: Amphibian & Reptiles (9/25/2015 draft)
- Ambystoma laterale at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History website
Species summary written by Ariel K. McK. Burgess.