Eastern U.S., south of Great Lakes and most of New England.
Streams, ponds, damp woodlands
The adult marbled salamander is about 4 inches long and has a stout body. The background color of the skin is black. There are white to gray bands or band-like markings on the side. A female’s bands tend toward gray, while a male’s are more likely to be white. The belly is black on both sexes. A few individuals lack markings and are entirely black or white.
Despite its size, the marbled salamander is a voracious predator that eats large quantities of food. It’s attracted by movement and odor and will not eat dead prey. Small worms, slugs, and insects make up the bulk of its diet, but the salamander has also been known to eat snails.
Unlike most other Ambystoma species which breed in the spring (mid-March to April), marbled salamanders breed and deposit their eggs in autumn (September to October) in dry vernal pools. The female lays 50 to 150 eggs about halfway up the bank of the pool, at the base of a tree or under leaf litter. When the water level in the pond reaches the eggs, they hatch out. This often happens with rain in late autumn. If not, the eggs remain in place over the winter and hatching is triggered by spring rain.
Newly-hatched larvae are only about 1 centimeter (less than a half-inch) long. They grow very quickly, though, reaching adulthood in as little as two months in southern climates, ranging up to nine months as the habitat ranges farther north. Except for the breeding season, marbled salamanders are solitary creatures that live mainly in burrows beneath the soil. They do their foraging in leaf litter or under bark and logs.