Eastern tiger salamander

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Eastern tiger salamander (Caudata: Ambystomatidae: Ambystoma tigrinum) photographed 05/22/2013 near Clayton, Michigan.

Eastern tiger salamanders (Caudata: Ambystomatidae: Ambystoma tigrinum) are North America’s largest and most widespread terrestrial salamanders. They can be found in virtually any habitat across much of the continent, provided there is soil suitable for burrowing and water nearby for reproduction. Although adults are adapted for living on land, they often escape dry conditions by going underground. Like most other amphibians their eggs and larvae develop in fresh water.

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Eastern tiger salamander (Caudata: Ambystomatidae: Ambystoma tigrinum) photographed 05/22/2013 near Clayton, Michigan.

Although highly variable in coloration, tiger salamanders are generally black-bodied with irregular blotches of yellow, olive, or tan. Their bellies are mostly of the lighter color.

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Eastern tiger salamander (Caudata: Ambystomatidae: Ambystoma tigrinum) photographed 05/22/2013 near Clayton, Michigan.

These amphibians will eat almost anything they can get in their mouths, including insects, worms, and even small vertebrates. They are of some benefit to humans since their diet includes pestiferous insects.

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Eastern tiger salamander (Caudata: Ambystomatidae: Ambystoma tigrinum) photographed 05/22/2013 near Clayton, Michigan.

In some areas tiger salamander populations have experienced declines due to habitat loss and water pollution, but across their range they are relatively healthy and stable. Considering that I found this individual in a heavily agricultural area, it would seem that they are relatively tolerant of these threats compared to other amphibians.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Vertebrate Zoology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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