From Northwestern Wisconsin to eastern Texas and the Atlantic coast, southern Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces in Canada extending south to Mississippi and Alabama
Streams, ponds, damp woodlands
An adult spotted salamander reaches lengths of 8 inches or more. The spotted salamander’s main color is black, but can sometimes be blue-black, dark gray, or even dark brown. There are two rows of yellow/orange spots that run from the top of the head (near the eyes) to the tip of the tail. The underside of the spotted salamander is slate gray. Females are slightly larger than the males.
The spotted salamander is one of the “mole salamanders,” which spend much of their time under ground, either in existing animal burrows or beneath logs and rocks.
Breeding season begins with the first night rain after the spring thaw, when the temporary vernal pools form. Males enter the breeding pools first. When the females arrive, the males engage in a courtship dance and release packets of sperm, called spermatophores, which stick to objects on the bottom of the pool.
Each female lays an average of 125 eggs, sometimes in several separate clusters and sometimes in one large mass. Depending on water temperature, eggs incubate for one or two months. Newly-hatched larvae have tiny front legs but no hind legs. It takes anywhere between 60 and 110 days for larvae to develop into adults. About a week after the transformation is complete, the distinctive spots form on the body.
Did You Know?
The first rainy night after the spring thaw in our area is called “Big Night”. This is the time when local amphibians migrate to breed and lay eggs.