Ambystoma tigrinum - (Green, 1825)
Tiger Salamander
Other English Common Names: Eastern Tiger Salamander, tiger salamander
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Ambystoma tigrinum (Green, 1825) (TSN 173592)
French Common Names: salamandre tigrée de l'Est
Spanish Common Names: Salamandra
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.889738
Element Code: AAAAA01146
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
Concept Reference: Collins, J. T. 1990. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles. 3rd ed. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Herpetological Circular No. 19. 41 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B90COL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum
Taxonomic Comments: Ambystoma californiense formerly was regarded as a subspecies of A. tigrinum, but most evidence (morphology, allozymes, mtDNA) supports recognition as a distinct species (see Shaffer and McKnight 1996). See Kraus (1988), Shaffer et al. (1991), and Jones et al. (1993) for phylogenetic analyses of North American Ambystoma; californiense was treated as a full species in these analyses.

Pierce and Mitton (1980) reported substantial changes in allelic composition across a contact zone between subspecies mavortium and nebulosum in Colorado. Collins et al. (1980) speculated that A. tigrinum might actually be a multispecies conglomerate. Jones and Collins (1992) examined variation in polymorphic loci and found no obvious impediments to gene flow within a contact zone between these subspecies in west-central New Mexico.

A range-wide phylogenetic analysis of A. tigrinum and Mexican ambystomatids based on mtDNA data by Shaffer and McKnight (1996) revealed eight "reasonably" well-defined clades from the United States and Mexico; their data suggested that "species boundaries for several U.S. and Mexican species need to be altered and that the concept of a continentally distributed, polytypic tiger salamander is not valid." Irschick and Shaffer (1997) examined morphological variation in larvae of 60 populations of four subspecies of A. tigrinum, plus A. californiense and A. velasci, and tentatively concluded, despite relatively slight phenotypic differentiation among these populations, that subspecies tigrinum may be a valid taxon at the species level (separate from mavortium), though they acknowledged the problem of a broad zone of intergradation between subspecies tigrinum and mavortium, describing the classification of the intergrade populations as a "vexing and largely unresolved issue." Irschick and Shaffer also found that subspecies mavortium, nebulosum, and melanostictum are almost indistinguishable from one another on the basis on larval morphology. Petranka (1998), Hammerson (1999), and Crother et al. (2000, 2003) listed mavortium as a subspecies of A. tigrinum. Crother (2008) listed tigrinum and mavortium as distinct species but did not cite any new evidence supporting this and acknowledged that certain other recent publications regarded these taxa as conspecific. Johnson et al. (2011) noted the "considerable uncertainty surrounding the systematics of the group" and included mavortium and other related taxa in A. tigrinum.

There is good evidence that subspecies stebbinsi is the result of a past "hybridization" event between subspecies mavortium and nebulosum (see Jones et al. 1988, 1995).

See Fernandez and Collins (1988) for information on color pattern variation in subspecies nebulosum. See Kraus (1985) and Kraus et al. (1991) for information on the involvement of tigrinum in hybridization with other Ambystoma in Michigan. See Lowcock et al. (1987) for a discussion of the nomenclature treatment of hybrids.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 22Jan2016
Global Status Last Changed: 02Oct2001
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Nov1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: NU (17May2013)

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 (S3), Colorado (S5), Delaware (S1), Florida (S3), Georgia (S3S4), Idaho (S5), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S4), Iowa (S5), Kansas (S5), Kentucky (S4), Louisiana (S1), Maryland (S2), Michigan (S3S4), Minnesota (S5), Mississippi (S1), Missouri (SU), Montana (S4), Navajo Nation (S5), Nebraska (S5), Nevada (SNA), New Jersey (S1), New Mexico (S5), New York (S1S2), North Carolina (S2), North Dakota (SNR), Ohio (S3), Oklahoma (S5), Oregon (S2?), Pennsylvania (SX), South Carolina (S2S3), South Dakota (S5), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S5), Utah (S4), Virginia (S1), Washington (S3), Wisconsin (S4)
Canada Manitoba (S2), Ontario (SX)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): PS
Comments on USESA: Subspecies stebbinsi of Arizona and Mexico is listed by USFWS as Endangered.
Implied Status under the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC):XT,E
Comments on COSEWIC: The Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) was originally assessed by COSEWIC in November 2001 as three separate populations: Great Lakes population (Extirpated), Prairie / Boreal population (Not at Risk), and Southern Mountain population (Endangered). In November 2012, Tiger Salamander was split into two separate species, Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) and Western Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma mavortium), each with two different populations that received separate designations. The Carolinian population of the Eastern Tiger Salamander was assessed as Extirpated.
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: See Church et al. (2003) for a map of the county distribution of the eastern tiger salamander.

Area of Occupancy: >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Occupies a large part of the area within the overall range.

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations) and locations (as defined by IUCN).

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but surely exceeds 1,000,000.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very many (>125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: At least hundreds of occurrences have good viability.

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Most remaining populations are exposed to low level threats from habitat loss and degradation, though quantitative information is lacking.

Local populations commonly incur massive mortality of adults on roads near breeding sites (Clevenger et al. 2001).

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: Populations in the southeastern United States appear to be declining as a result of deforestation and loss of wetland habitats (Petranka 1998), though quantitative information on recent trends is unavailable.

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

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Populations can recover from drastic declines over a period of a few years, with high recruitment of juveniles. Given normal dispersal distances (see occurrence specifications), recolonization of habitats from which extirpated may be slow to absent if nearby populations within about 0.5-1 km are also extirpated.

Environmental Specificity: Narrow to moderate.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Species is a generalist with respect to terrestrial habitats, but reproduction is largely dependent on fishless bodies of water.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Protection Needs: Needed measures include basic habitat protection and policies/regulations that discourage/prohibit the introduction of predatory fishes into habitats where they are not native.

Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) See Church et al. (2003) for a map of the county distribution of the eastern tiger salamander.

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, CO, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NN, NVexotic, NY, OH, OK, OR, PAextirpated, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI
Canada MB, ONextirpated

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Barbour (01005), Bibb (01007)*, Bullock (01011)*, Calhoun (01015)*, Chilton (01021)*, Clay (01027)*, Cleburne (01029)*, Covington (01039), Crenshaw (01041)*, Cullman (01043)*, Dale (01045)*, Escambia (01053), Geneva (01061)*, Henry (01067)*, Houston (01069)*, Macon (01087)*, Shelby (01117)*, Talladega (01121)*
FL Alachua (12001), Calhoun (12013), Dixie (12029), Hernando (12053), Lafayette (12067), Leon (12073), Marion (12083), Okaloosa (12091), Santa Rosa (12113), Suwannee (12121), Taylor (12123)*
GA Atkinson (13003)*, Baker (13007), Ben Hill (13017)*, Berrien (13019)*, Bibb (13021)*, Brooks (13027)*, Bulloch (13031)*, Burke (13033), Calhoun (13037), Chattahoochee (13053), Coffee (13069)*, Columbia (13073), Crisp (13081), Dougherty (13095), Emanuel (13107)*, Grady (13131)*, Houston (13153)*, Irwin (13155), Jefferson (13163), Laurens (13175)*, Liberty (13179)*, Long (13183)*, Lowndes (13185)*, Marion (13197), Mcduffie (13189), Miller (13201), Randolph (13243), Richmond (13245), Screven (13251)*, Sumter (13261), Taylor (13269), Terrell (13273), Thomas (13275), Turner (13287), Walker (13295), Wheeler (13309), Worth (13321)
ID Ada (16001), Bannock (16005), Bingham (16011)*, Bonneville (16019), Elmore (16039), Franklin (16041), Fremont (16043), Idaho (16049), Jefferson (16051)*, Kootenai (16055)*, Latah (16057), Oneida (16071)*, Owyhee (16073), Power (16077), Teton (16081), Twin Falls (16083)
LA Bossier (22015)*, Caddo (22017)*, St. Tammany (22103)*, Vernon (22115)
MD Anne Arundel (24003)*, Caroline (24011), Charles (24017)*, Dorchester (24019)*, Kent (24029), Queen Annes (24035), Somerset (24039)*, Wicomico (24045)*, Worcester (24047)*
MO Adair (29001), Barry (29009)*, Buchanan (29021), Carroll (29033), Carter (29035), Clark (29045), Clay (29047), Clinton (29049), Dent (29065), Douglas (29067), Gentry (29075), Holt (29087), Howell (29091), Jackson (29095)*, Jefferson (29099)*, Johnson (29101)*, Knox (29103)*, Lawrence (29109), Lewis (29111)*, Lincoln (29113)*, Linn (29115), Livingston (29117)*, Marion (29127), Mercer (29129)*, Newton (29145), Nodaway (29147), Ozark (29153), Perry (29157)*, Pike (29163), Platte (29165), Pulaski (29169), Putnam (29171), Randolph (29175)*, Ray (29177)*, Saline (29195)*, Schuyler (29197), Shelby (29205), St. Charles (29183)*, St. Clair (29185)*, St. Louis (29189)*, St. Louis (city) (29510)*, Stone (29209), Texas (29215)*, Webster (29225), Wright (29229)
MS Oktibbeha (28105)*
NC Cumberland (37051), Hoke (37093), Richmond (37153), Robeson (37155), Scotland (37165), Wake (37183)
NJ Atlantic (34001), Burlington (34005), Camden (34007)*, Cape May (34009), Cumberland (34011), Gloucester (34015)*, Mercer (34021)*, Monmouth (34025)*, Ocean (34029), Salem (34033)
NM Sandoval (35043)
NY Nassau (36059), Suffolk (36103)
OH Champaign (39021), Clark (39023), Clinton (39027)*, Darke (39037), Erie (39043), Fairfield (39045), Franklin (39049), Hardin (39065), Lucas (39095), Miami (39109), Morrow (39117), Ottawa (39123)*, Pickaway (39129), Richland (39139), Sandusky (39143)*, Stark (39151)*, Warren (39165)*, Williams (39171), Wood (39173)
PA Chester (42029)*
SC Aiken (45003), Bamberg (45009), Berkeley (45015)*, Charleston (45019)*, Edgefield (45037)*, McCormick (45065)*
VA Augusta (51015), Hanover (51085)*, Isle of Wight (51093), Mathews (51115)*, York (51199)*
WA Adams (53001)+, Douglas (53017)+, Ferry (53019)+, Franklin (53021)+, Grant (53025)+, Lincoln (53043)+, Okanogan (53047)+, Spokane (53063)+, Stevens (53065)+, Whitman (53075)+
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Northern Long Island (02030201)+, Southern Long Island (02030202)+, Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+*, Crosswicks-Neshaminy (02040201)+*, Lower Delaware (02040202)+*, Delaware Bay (02040204)+*, Brandywine-Christina (02040205)+*, Cohansey-Maurice (02040206)+, Mullica-Toms (02040301)+, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+, Chincoteague (02040303)+*, Chester-Sassafras (02060002)+, Severn (02060004)+*, Choptank (02060005)+, South Fork Shenandoah (02070005)+, Lower Potomac (02070011)+*, Great Wicomico-Piankatank (02080102)+*, Pamunkey (02080106)+*, Lynnhaven-Poquoson (02080108)+*, Western Lower Delmarva (02080109)+, Eastern Lower Delmarva (02080110)+*, Maury (02080202)+, Lower James (02080206)+
03 Upper Neuse (03020201)+, Upper Cape Fear (03030004)+, Lumber (03040203)+, Little Pee Dee (03040204)+, Cooper (03050201)+*, Salkehatchie (03050207)+, Upper Savannah (03060103)+*, Middle Savannah (03060106)+, Stevens (03060107)+*, Brier (03060108)+, Upper Ogeechee (03060201)+, Lower Ogeechee (03060202)+*, Canoochee (03060203)+*, Lower Oconee (03070102)+*, Upper Ocmulgee (03070103)+*, Lower Ocmulgee (03070104)+, Satilla (03070201)+*, Oklawaha (03080102)+, Withlacoochee (03100208)+, Aucilla (03110103)+, Alapaha (03110202)+, withlacoochee (03110203)+*, Lower Suwannee (03110205)+, Santa Fe (03110206)+, Apalachee Bay-St. Marks (03120001)+, Lower Ochlockonee (03120003)+*, Middle Chattahoochee-Walter F. George Reservoir (03130003)+, Lower Chattahoochee (03130004)+*, Upper Flint (03130005)+, Middle Flint (03130006)+, Kinchafoonee-Muckalee (03130007)+, Lower Flint (03130008)+, Ichawaynochaway (03130009)+, Spring (03130010)+, Apalachicola (03130011)+*, Chipola (03130012)+, Yellow (03140103)+, Blackwater (03140104)+, Upper Choctawhatchee (03140201)+*, Lower Choctawhatchee (03140203)+*, Upper Conecuh (03140301)+, Patsaliga (03140302)+*, Lower Conecuh (03140304)+, Middle Coosa (03150106)+*, Upper Tallapoosa (03150108)+*, Lower Tallapoosa (03150110)+*, Cahaba (03150202)+*, Tibbee (03160104)+*, Noxubee (03160108)+*, Mulberry (03160109)+*, Lower Pearl. Mississippi (03180004)+*
04 St. Joseph (04100003)+, Auglaize (04100007)+, Blanchard (04100008)+, Lower Maumee (04100009)+, Cedar-Portage (04100010)+, Sandusky (04100011)+*, Huron-Vermilion (04100012)+
05 Tuscarawas (05040001)+*, Walhonding (05040003)+, Upper Scioto (05060001)+, Lower Scioto (05060002)+, Upper Great Miami (05080001)+, Whitewater (05080003)+*, Little Miami (05090202)+
06 Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga (06020001)+
07 Bear-Wyaconda (07110001)+, North Fabius (07110002)+, South Fabius (07110003)+, The Sny (07110004)+, North Fork Salt (07110005)+, Cuivre (07110008)+, Peruque-Piasa (07110009)+*, Cahokia-Joachim (07140101)+*, Meramec (07140102)+, Upper Mississippi-Cape Girardeau (07140105)+*
08 Liberty Bayou-Tchefuncta (08090201)+*
10 Tarkio-Wolf (10240005)+, Independence-Sugar (10240011)+, Platte (10240012)+, One Hundred and Two (10240013)+, Upper Grand (10280101)+, Thompson (10280102)+*, Lower Grand (10280103)+, Upper Chariton (10280201)+, Lower Chariton (10280202)+, Little Chariton (10280203)+*, Harry S. Missouri (10290105)+*, Sac (10290106)+, Upper Gasconade (10290201)+, Big Piney (10290202)+, Lower Missouri-Crooked (10300101)+, Blackwater (10300104)+*, Lower Missouri (10300200)+*
11 Beaver Reservoir (11010001)+, James (11010002)+*, North Fork White (11010006)+, Upper Black (11010007)+, Spring (11010010)+, Spring (11070207)+, Middle Red-Coushatta (11140202)+*, Bayou Pierre (11140206)+*
12 Lower Sabine (12010005)+
13 Arroyo Chico (13020205)+
16 Middle Bear (16010202)+, Little Bear-Logan (16010203)+*, Lower Bear-Malad (16010204)+*
17 Pend Oreille (17010216), Coeur D'alene Lake (17010303)+*, Hangman (17010306), Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake (17020001), Kettle (17020002), Colville (17020003), Sanpoil (17020004), Chief Joseph (17020005), Okanogan (17020006), Methow (17020008), Upper Columbia-Entiat (17020010), Moses Coulee (17020012), Upper Crab (17020013), Banks Lake (17020014), Lower Crab (17020015), Upper Columbia-Priest Rapids (17020016), Palisades (17040104)+, Idaho Falls (17040201)+*, Upper Henrys (17040202)+, Lower Henrys (17040203)+, Teton (17040204)+, American Falls (17040206)+, Blackfoot (17040207)+*, Portneuf (17040208)+, Lake Walcott (17040209)+*, Upper Snake-Rock (17040212)+, Middle Snake-Succor (17050103)+, Lower Boise (17050114)+, Palouse (17060108)+, Rock (17060109), Lower Snake (17060110), Clearwater (17060306)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A salamander.
General Description: Coloration geographically variable to an extreme, often mottled, blotched, or spotted; adults are stocky, with 11-14 (usually 12-13) costal grooves, a broad head, small eyes, and tubercles on the soles of the feet; pond-type larva (but lacks balancers), with three large pairs of gills, vomerine teeth in U-shaped pattern, and dorsal fin extending to region of axilla; adults usually are about 15-22 cm in total length (to about 34 cm) (Stebbins 1951, 1985; Behler and King 1979; Conant and Collins 1991).
Diagnostic Characteristics: The following pertains to metamorphosed adults. Differs from A. MACRODACTYLUM in lacking a distinct dorsal stripe or stripelike row of spots. Differs from A. GRACILE in having distinct dorsal markings and tubercles on the underside of the feet and by lacking parotoid glands and a glandular ridge on the tail. Differs from A. ANNULATUM in lacking a light grayish stripe along the lower side of the body and generally lacking narrow light bands across the body. Differs from A. MACULATUM and A. OPACUM in having large light blotches on the sides. Differs from A. TALPOIDEUM in having sharply defined spots and usually more than 11 costal grooves (vs. 10-11). Differs from all other North American AMBYSTOMA in having tubercles on the soles of the feet. Differs from plethodontid salamanders in lacking a nasolabial groove.
Reproduction Comments: In general, breeding occurs in spring in the north and at high elevations, in winter in the southern U.S., in late winter/spring and/or summer in the Southwest, and in late winter-early spring in the mid-Atlantic states. Typically the female oviposits within two days after picking up a spermatophore. Individual female deposit up to 1,000 eggs. Eggs hatch in about 2-5 weeks, depending on the temperature. Larvae metamorphose in their first or second summer, or they may not metamorphose at all (become sexually mature as gilled larvae). Reproductive success may be highly dependent on seasonal patterns of rainfall and temperature (Mitchell 1991). In South Carolina, reproductive success varied greatly in different years; little or no recruitment occurred during drought periods (Pechmann et al. 1991). Breeding aggregations may include a few or up to several hundred adults.
Ecology Comments: Drying of breeding pond may result in total reproductive failure in some years (Semlitsch 1983). May incur heavy egg predation by eastern newt in some areas. See Worthylake and Hovingh (1989) for information on recurrent mass mortality associated with bacterial infection in mountains of Utah; it was suggested that nitrogen augmentation due in part to sheep grazing may be involved.

In New York, frequent predation occurred in small mammal runways, probably by short-tailed shrews (Madison and Farrand 1998).

Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: May migrate up to at least a few hundred meters between breeding and nonbreeding habitats. In New York, all movements occurred in areas within 300 m of the nearest breeding pond (Madison and Farrand 1998). Migrations often coincide with rainfall. Migrations in New York were facultative; some did not emigrate from ponds during the year of breeding (Madison and Farrand 1998).
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, Pool, SPRING/SPRING BROOK
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Desert, Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Grassland/herbaceous, Savanna, Shrubland/chaparral, Suburban/orchard, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil
Habitat Comments: Tiger salamanders can be found in virtually any habitat, providing there is a terrestrial substrate suitable for burrowing and a body of water nearby suitable for breeding. Terrestrial adults usually are underground, in self-made burrows or in those made by rodents, shrews, or other animals. In New York, adults on land used wooded areas and avoided grassy areas (Madison and Farrand 1998). At high elevations in the Rocky Mountains, metamorphosed adults commonly occur in ponds throughout the summer. Breeding occurs in a wide range of environments, ranging from clear mountain ponds to temporary, manure-polluted pools in the lowlands, generally in sites where predatory fishes are absent. In the mountains of western Colorado, tiger salamanders are associated with ponds that have silty bottoms, low alkalinity, and no fishes (Geraghty and Willey 1992). In the southeastern U.S., this species breeds in open, grassy, usually temporary, ponds (Jensen et al. 2008). Eggs are attached to submerged objects or pond bottoms.
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Adults eat any small animal that can be captured and swallowed. Larvae eat aquatic invertebrates and vertebrates (especially amphibian larvae) as available.
Adult Phenology: Circadian, Hibernates/aestivates
Immature Phenology: Circadian, Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: As in most other land-dwelling amphibians, most terrestrial activity occurs during and after rains; freezing weather and drought inhibit activity.
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 35 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Effective protection of breeding populations should include the aquatic fishless breeding site and a terrestrial buffer of at least a couple hundred meters.
Management Requirements: Needed measures include basic habitat protection and policies/regulations that discourage/prohibit the introduction of predatory fishes into habitats where they are not native.
Biological Research Needs: Further research on phylogeographic patterns and taxonomic status of major population segments is needed.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 25Jan2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 28Jun2010
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

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