Natural Area Preservation

Four-Toed Salamander

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Hemidactylium scutatum

Natural History
This species is generally uncommon, and populations tend to be localized. They inhabit moist deciduous woodlands usually near creeks, sphagnum seepages, bogs or boggy ponds. Four-toed Salamanders are usually found under logs or other debris.  Hibernation occurs in rotting logs, beneath leaf litter, or below ground. Many may congregate in a suitable area. 

Reproduction and Growth
Courtship and mating occur in late summer and fall. The females migrate to breeding sites from late March-June seeking woodland ponds, springs, or creeks where mosses, rotting logs, leaf litter, or clumps of grass or sedges are hanging over, or are adjacent to, the waters edge. Sphagnum moss over shallow, permanent or semi-permanent water appears to be favored where available. Female deposits 15-70 eggs in the nest. They moisten their eggs through skin secretions. Frequently, two or more females lay eggs in communal nests, but only one female at a time attends the nest. Larvae hatch in 1-2 months. Metamorphosis occurs within 3-8 weeks. Sexual maturity is reached in the third year.

Populations are often restricted to isolated colonies. Opportunities for dispersal into new habitats may be very limited. This species is vulnerable to the effects of human activities.

Habitat Type

  • Ephemeral wetlands.
  • Permanent wetlands.
  • Forests.

​​​​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