Natural Area Preservation

Blue-Spotted Salamander

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Ambystoma laterale

Natural History
This species commonly hybridizes with the Jefferson Salamander, and may also hybridize with Small-mouthed and Tiger Salamanders in the Lake Erie area. Common in woodlands with required breeding ponds, it is fairly tolerant of human habitat disturbance, and can persist in fragmented and cut-over woods. They inhabit moist bottomlands to dry uplands, but are most abundant in moist woodlands with sandy soils. The presence of ponds that retain water into mid-summer is essential. Blue-spotted Salamanders spend much of their time hidden beneath logs, rocks, and leaf litter. Their skin contains granular glands that produce a whitish, toxic substance concentrated on the upper surface of the tail.

Reproduction and Growth
One of the first to arrive at breeding ponds, migration occurs in late March or early April. They lay eggs within 2 days of mating; usually 35 to over 500 eggs are attached to sticks, rocks, leaves, and other submerged objects.  Hatching occurs in 3-5 weeks, and transform in late summer. They can transform earlier if pond begins to dry up prematurely.  They typically reach sexual maturity in two years.

Blue-spotted Salamanders require wooded habitats adjacent to fishless ponds and other still, shallow waters.  They are tolerant of selective logging and low-density residential development, as long as critical parts of their habitat remain. The major threats are clear-cutting of woodlands, wetland loss, and building of roads between breeding sites and terrestrial habitats.

Habitat Type

  • Ephemeral wetlands.
  • Permanent wetlands.
  • Forests.
  • Grasslands and savannas.

​​​​Natural Area Preservation
3875 E. Huron River Dr.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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Remy Long​
  Deputy Manager
Tina Stephens
  Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator
Becky Hand
  Stewardship Specialist
Michael Hahn
  Stewardship Specialist