The Spotted Salamander is the largest of Vermont’s three mole salamanders. It grows up to 9 inches long. It is a black salamander with bright yellow spots. Spotted Salamanders have strong legs and a broad flat head.
They spend most of the year underground in shrew, mole, or mouse tunnels, hence the term mole salamander. They move to deeper tunnels to overwinter below the frost line.
Get more detailed identification and life history information by downloading the chart here.
Spotted Salamanders feed and overwinter in upland hardwood and mixed forests. They breed in vernal pools, beaver ponds, or old farm ponds. The Spotted Salamander is found statewide.
This species has a state natural heritage rank of S5 (common). The Spotted Salamander also 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 maculatum at Animal Diversity website
- Ambystoma maculatum at Amphibiaweb
- Ambystoma maculatum in the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Action Plan: Amphibian & Reptiles (9/25/2015 draft)
- Ambystoma maculatum at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History website
Species summary written by Ariel K. McK. Burgess.
Mating Salamanders in Water
He writes, “About 200 spotted salamanders were in my backyard pond in Salisbury, Vermont on April 9, 2002. It was a rainy evening, but the rain had stopped so the salamanders could be seen well in the water.”