Ambystoma texanum - (Matthes, 1855)
Smallmouth Salamander
Other English Common Names: Small-mouthed Salamander, small-mouth salamander
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Ambystoma texanum (Matthes, 1855) (TSN 173605)
French Common Names: salamandre ą nez court
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.103285
Element Code: AAAAA01130
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 texanum
Taxonomic Comments: See Bogart et al. (1987), Kraus (1985), Bogart and Licht (1987), Kraus et al. (1991), Morris and Brandon (1984), and Spolsky et al. (1992) for information on the involvement of texanum in hybridization with other Ambystoma. Ambystoma barbouri formerly was included in this species (Kraus and Petranka 1989). 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: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 05Jun2015
Global Status Last Changed: 17Dec2001
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Nov1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N1 (02Aug2017)

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 Alabama (S3), Arkansas (S5), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S4), Iowa (S3), Kansas (S5), Kentucky (S5), Louisiana (S5), Michigan (S1), Mississippi (S3), Missouri (S5), Nebraska (S1), Ohio (SNR), Oklahoma (S5), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S5), West Virginia (S1)
Canada Ontario (S1)

Other Statuses

Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA) Schedule 1/Annexe 1 Status: E (14Jul2005)
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Endangered (02May2014)
Comments on COSEWIC: Reason for designation: The Canadian distribution of this salamander is restricted solely to Pelee Island. The entire Canadian range is only about 40 km2, and only three breeding sites are known. Although this species was first assessed as Endangered 10 years ago, there is little new information and new threats exist for this salamander. The continued existence of the population is precarious because of habitat degradation of wetland breeding sites. Predation and habitat destruction by recently introduced Wild Turkeys is a new threat to the existence of salamanders on Pelee Island.

Status history: Designated Special Concern in April 1991. Status re-examined and designated Endangered in May 2004 and May 2014.

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Southern Michigan, southwestern Ontario (Pelee Island), Ohio, western West Virginia, western Kentucky, central Tennessee, and Alabama to west to southern Iowa, eastern Kansas, and eastern Texas, south to Gulf Coast.

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

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

Population Size: 100,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but likely exceeds 100,000.

Overall Threat Impact: Unknown
Overall Threat Impact Comments: The biggest threat is conversion of bottomland habitat to agricultural uses (Petranka 1998).

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: See Bogart and Licht (1991 COSEWIC report) for information on status in Canada.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%

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: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) Southern Michigan, southwestern Ontario (Pelee Island), Ohio, western West Virginia, western Kentucky, central Tennessee, and Alabama to west to southern Iowa, eastern Kansas, and eastern Texas, south to Gulf Coast.

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: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MI, MO, MS, NE, OH, OK, TN, TX, WV
Canada ON

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)
IA Fremont (19071), Louisa (19115), Marion (19125)*, Polk (19153), Ringgold (19159), Warren (19181)
MI Hillsdale (26059), Monroe (26115), Oakland (26125)*, Washtenaw (26161), Wayne (26163)
MS Clay (28025)*, Hinds (28049), Lauderdale (28075)*, Madison (28089)*, Neshoba (28099)*, Noxubee (28103), Oktibbeha (28105), Quitman (28119)*, Tishomingo (28141)*, Winston (28159), Yazoo (28163)*
NE Nemaha (31127), Otoe (31131), Richardson (31147), Sarpy (31153)*
OK Payne (40119)
WV Cabell (54011)*, Mason (54053)*, Wayne (54099)*, Wood (54107)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Tibbee (03160104)+*, Noxubee (03160108)+, Chunky-Okatibbee (03170001)+*, Upper Pearl (03180001)+*
04 Detroit (04090004)+, Huron (04090005)+, Ottawa-Stony (04100001)+*, Raisin (04100002)+, St. Joseph (04100003)+
05 Upper Ohio-Shade (05030202)+, Lower Kanawha (05050008)+*, Raccoon-Symmes (05090101)+*, Twelvepole (05090102)+*
06 Bear (06030006)+*
07 Copperas-Duck (07080101)+, North Raccoon (07100006)+, Lake Red Rock (07100008)+
08 Tallahatchie (08030202)+*, Upper Yazoo (08030206)+*, Lower Big Black (08060202)+
10 Big Papillion-Mosquito (10230006)+*, Keg-Weeping Water (10240001)+, Tarkio-Wolf (10240005)+, Little Nemaha (10240006)+, South Fork Big Nemaha (10240007)+*, Big Nemaha (10240008)+, Upper Grand (10280101)+
11 Lower Cimarron (11050003)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Breeding is concentrated in period of only a few weeks, largely late February-early April in Missouri, mid-February to mid-April in Iowa, December-February in Louisiana. Eggs may take several weeks to hatch. Larvae metamorphose in about 2 months.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Typically migrates to breeding sites in late winter or early spring (Kraus and Petranka 1989). During nonbreeding season, may live close to or distant from breeding site.
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, Pool, SPRING/SPRING BROOK
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian, TEMPORARY POOL
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Grassland/herbaceous, Suburban/orchard, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Tolerates a wide range of ecological conditions: tall grass prairie, moist pine woodland, flood plain forest, oak woodland, dense hardwood forest, and intensely farmed areas. Adults usually underground, under rocks, leaves, logs, in crayfish burrows, etc.

Breeding sites variable, include forest ponds, temporary pools, ditches, spring-fed pools, and slow upper portions of streams. Typically breeds in ponds or other lentic habitats; attaches small clumps of eggs to vegetation or detritus in exposed sites; sometimes breeds in streams (recorded in Kentucky and Indiana); sometimes lays eggs cryptically as in A. BARBOURI; sometimes lays eggs singly (Kraus and Petranka 1989). Hatching success declined greatly at pH below 6.9 in Illinois, but in Texas hatching success remained high until pH dropped below 4.5 (J. Herpetol. 26:230-232).

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Adults eat terrestrial invertebrates, especially earthworms. Larvae eat aquatic invertebrates. In Iowa, larvae ate zooplankton and benthic invertebrates (McWilliams and Bachman 1989).
Adult Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Inactive during coldest and driest months. Larvae active day and night in Iowa; more secretive during daylight (McWilliams and Bachman 1989).
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 14 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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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: 17Dec2001
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 08Dec1995
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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Use Guidelines & Citation

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of March 2019.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2019 NatureServe, 2511 Richmond (Jefferson Davis) Highway, Suite 930, Arlington, VA 22202, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2019. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.