Ambystoma mabeei - Bishop, 1928
Mabee's Salamander
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Ambystoma mabeei Bishop, 1928 (TSN 173600)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.101261
Element Code: AAAAA01070
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Amphibians - Salamanders
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Amphibia Caudata Ambystomatidae Ambystoma
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B85FRO01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Ambystoma mabeei
Taxonomic Comments: See Kraus (1988), Shaffer et al. (1991), and Jones et al. (1993) for phylogenetic analyses of North American AMBYSTOMA.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 28Dec2001
Global Status Last Changed: 14Dec2001
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Relatively small range in the Carolinas and Virgina; many breeding sites have been lost as a result of draining of wetlands and conversion of forest into cropland.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4 (05Nov1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States North Carolina (S2?), South Carolina (S4), Virginia (S1S2)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Lower elevations of the Coastal Plain of the Carolinas and Virginia (Conant and Colins 1991). Details of distribution are not especially well known; probably additional populations remain to be discovered.

Area of Occupancy: 126 to >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: Many occurrences.

Population Size: 10,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but likely is at least 10,000.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Unknown

Overall Threat Impact: Unknown
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threats include drainage of breeding sites, other hydrological alterations that may affect breeding sites, and urbanization and forestry practices that destroy or degrade nonbreeding habitat (Mitchell 1991). Many breeding sites have been lost through draining of wetlands and conversion of forests into croplands (Petranka 1998).

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable

Long-term Trend: Decline of <50% to Relatively Stable

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)) Lower elevations of the Coastal Plain of the Carolinas and Virginia (Conant and Colins 1991). Details of distribution are not especially well known; probably additional populations remain to be discovered.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States NC, SC, VA

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: IUCN, Conservation International, NatureServe, and collaborators, 2004


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NC Bladen (37017), Brunswick (37019), Carteret (37031)*, Columbus (37047)*, Cumberland (37051), Dare (37055)*, Duplin (37061), Hoke (37093), New Hanover (37129)*, Onslow (37133), Pender (37141)*, Perquimans (37143)*, Robeson (37155), Sampson (37163), Scotland (37165)
VA Gloucester (51073), Hampton (City) (51650)*, Isle of Wight (51093), James City (51095), Mathews (51115), Southampton (51175), Suffolk (City) (51800)*, Sussex (51183), York (51199)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Great Wicomico-Piankatank (02080102)+, York (02080107)+, Lynnhaven-Poquoson (02080108)+, Lower James (02080206)+, Hampton Roads (02080208)+*
03 Nottoway (03010201)+, Blackwater (03010202)+, Albemarle (03010205)+*, White Oak River (03020301)+, New River (03020302)+, Upper Cape Fear (03030004)+, Lower Cape Fear (03030005)+, Black (03030006)+, Northeast Cape Fear (03030007)+, Lumber (03040203)+, Little Pee Dee (03040204)+, Waccamaw (03040206)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Moves to breeding sites in fall and winter (North Carolina), breeds late fall to early spring. Eggs are laid singly or in loose chains of 2-6 eggs. Eggs hatch in 9-14 days. Metamorphosis to the terrestrial form occurs in April and May. Aggregates when breeding.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrates (probably up to a few hundred meters) between breeding and nonbreeding habitats, though some adults may remain at the breeding site after the pond dries. Mass movements of adults coincide with heavy winter and spring rains.
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian, TEMPORARY POOL
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Savanna, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Tupelo and cypress bottoms in pine woods, open fields, and lowland deciduous forest (Behler and King 1979). Pine savannas, low wet woods, and swamps (Martof et al. 1980). Usually in burrows near breeding ponds. Eggs are attached to submerged plant material or bottom debris of acidic, fishless ponds in or near pine stands (Behler and King 1979). In Virginia, breeds in fish-free vernal pond in a large clearcut area and in ephemeral sinkhole ponds up to 1.5 m deep, within bottomland hardwood forest mixed with pine (Mitchell 1991). Larvae develop in the ponds.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Adult Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 10 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Mitchell (1991) recommended that known breeding sites be protected and that the protected area include the pond and a buffer of surrounding forest 250 m wide.
Management Requirements: Clearcutting and intensive mechanical site preparation should be avoided. Breeding ponds should not be dredged or stocked with fishes. Winter burning should be avoided.
Management Research Needs: Responses to various forestry practices need to be determined.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Ambystomatid Salamanders

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including larvae or eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Heavily traveled road, especially at night during salamander breeding season, such that salamanders almost never successfully traverse the road; road with a barrier that is impermeable to salamanders; wide, fast rivers; areas of intensive development dominated by buildings and pavement.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 3 km
Separation Justification: BARRIERS/UNSUITABLE HABITAT: Rivers may or may not be effective barriers, depending on stream width and hydrodynamics; identification of streams as barriers is a subjective determination. Bodies of water dominated by predatory fishes have been described as barriers but probably should be regarded as unsuitable habitat. For A. barbouri, a stream-pool breeder, predatory fishes appeared to act as a barrier to larval dispersal and gene flow for populations separated by as little as 500-1000 m (Storfer 1999). Highly disturbed land, such as the cleared and bedded soils of some silvicultural site preparation, may serve as an impediment to movement of A. cingulatum (Means et al. 1996), although Ashton (1998) noted the species' use of pine plantations, pastures, and three-year-old clearcuts. Such areas should be treated as unsuitable habitat rather than barriers.

MOVEMENTS: Palis's (1997b) suggested use of 3.2 km between breeding sites to distinguish breeding populations of A. cingulatum was based on Ashton's (1992) finding that individuals may move as much as 1.6 km from their breeding ponds. Ambystoma californiense sometimes migrates up to 2 km between breeding ponds and terrestrial habitat (see USFWS 2004). Funk and Dunlap (1999) found that A. macrodactylum managed to recolonize lakes after trout extirpation despite evidence of low levels of interpopulation dispersal. Based on a review of several Ambystoma species (e.g., Semlitsch 1981, Douglas and Monroe 1981, Kleeberger and Werner 1983, Madison 1997), Semlitsch (1998) concluded that a radius of less than 200 meters around a breeding pond would likely encompass the terrestrial habitat used by more than 95 percent of adults. Faccio's (2003) study of radio-tagged A. maculatum and A. jeffersonianum in Vermont supports this conclusion. In New York, all movements of A. tigrinum occurred in areas within 300 m of the nearest breeding pond (Madison and Farrand 1998). However, most studies of these salamanders had small sample sizes and/or were not designed to detect long-distance movements, so migration distance may be somewhat underestimated.

In summary, ambystomatid salamanders generally stay within a few hundred meters of their breeding pool. Due to high breeding site fidelity and limitation of breeding to pool basins, populations using different breeding sites exhibit little or no interbreeding among adults. Thus one might argue that each pool constitutes a separate occurrence or that the separation distance for suitable habitat should be the nominal minimum of 1 km. However, little is known about how frequently first-time (or experienced) breeders use non-natal pools (pools from which they did not originate) or how far they may move to such sites. Frequent colonization of new and remote habitats by at least some species suggests that dispersal movements sometimes may be longer than typical adult migration distances. It seems unlikely that locations separated by a gap of less than a few kilometers of suitable habitat would represent independent occurrences over the long term.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .3 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Inferred extent distance pertains to breeding sites (with the center of the circle in the center of the breeding site). Most ambystomatids stay within a few hundred meters of their breeding pool (see separation justification section).
Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 28Dec2001
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 19Sep1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Behler, J. L., and F. W. King. 1979. The Audubon Society field guide to North American reptiles and amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 719 pp.

  • Blackburn, L., P. Nanjappa, and M. J. Lannoo. 2001. An Atlas of the Distribution of U.S. Amphibians. Copyright, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA.

  • Conant, R. and J. T. Collins. 1991. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians: eastern and central North America. Third edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 450 pp.

  • Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.

  • Hardy, J. D., Jr. 1969. Reproductive activity, growth and movements of AMBYSTOMA MABEEI Bishop in North Carolina. Bull. Maryland Herpetol. Soc. 5:65-67.

  • Hardy, J.D., Jr. and Anderson, J.D. 1970. Ambystoma mabeei. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. 81:1-2.

  • Jones, T. R., A. G. Kluge, and A. J. Wolf. 1993. When theories and methodologies clash: a phylogenetic reanalysis of the North American ambystomatid salamanders (Caudata: Ambystomatidae). Systematic Biology 42:92-102.

  • Kraus, F. 1988. An empirical evaluation of the use of the ontogeny polarization criterion in phylogenetic inference. Systematic Zoology 37:106-141.

  • Martof, B. S., W. M. Palmer, J. R. Bailey, and J. R. Harrison, III. 1980. Amphibians and reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 264 pp.

  • Mitchell, J. C. 1991. Amphibians and reptiles. Pages 411-76 in K. Terwilliger (coordinator). Virginia's Endangered Species: Proceedings of a Symposium. McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company, Blacksburg, Virginia.

  • Petranka, J. W. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

  • Shaffer, H. B., J. M. Clark, and F. Kraus. 1991. When molecules and morphology clash: a phylogenetic analysis of the North American ambystomatid salamanders (Caudata: Ambystomatidae). Systematic Zoology 40:284-303.

  • Tobey, F. J. 1985. Virginia's amphibians and reptiles: a distributional survey. Virginia Herpetological Survey. vi + 114 pp.

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