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Tiger Salamander Ambystoma tigrinum


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Tiger Salamander, Eastern subspecies
credit: Gary M. Stolz

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Alternate name: Eastern Tiger Salamander, Barred Tiger Salamander

Family: Ambystomidae, Mole Salamanders view all from this family

Description Largest Salamander in the world. Long and stout. Broad head with lidded small eyes. Variable blotchy coloring from Black, gray and green.

Dimensions 15-36cm. (6-14")

Endangered Status The Sonoran Tiger Salamander, a subspecies of the Tiger Salamander, is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as endangered in Arizona. This salamander lives in only a few ponds in the San Rafael Valley, between the Huachuca and Patagonia Mountains. Because it occurs in small numbers in very limited habitats, it is a very vulnerable species. Floods and drought have caused the greatest damage to its populations. Predation, especially by introduced fish and bullfrogs, and disease have also taken a toll.

Subspecies California Tiger Salamander, Plateau Tiger Salamader and Barred Tiger Salamander were a subspecies but are not considered a separate species.

Breeding Males nudge females to initiate breeding. Females deposit fertilised eggs on underwater vegetation. Larvae entirely aquatic. Single Tiger Salamanders only have a 50% chance of breeding more than once.

Habitat Mountain forests, damp meadows and sagebush plains near water.

Range Eastern North America. From Saskatchewan to Florida and Mexico through to the Appalachian mountains.

Discussion Spends most of its time underground. Terrestrial creatures and only go to water to breed. Able swimmers since they are born in water. Always returns to its birthplace to breed, sometimes travelling long distances to do so. Diet mainly consists of small invertebrates including worms, frogs and small insects, also sometimes baby mice.