Ambystoma laterale

Common Names: Blue-spotted Salamander
Category: Amphibians
Sub-category: Salamanders

A mole salamander native to the Great Lakes states and northeastern United States, and parts of Ontario and Quebec in Canada.

These salamanders are between 8 and 14 cm in length, of which the tail comprises about 40 percent of the length. Their skin is bluish-black, with characteristic blue and white flecks on its back, and bluish-white spots on the sides of its body and tail. They have an elongated body, though they are not nearly as slender as the Jefferson salamander. The vent is typically black, which contrasts with the paler belly. They have long toes: four on the front feet, and five on the hind feet. Typically, specimens will have 12-14 costal grooves. Males tend to be smaller than females, though they have longer, flattened tails.

Blue-spotted salamanders are primarily found in moist, deciduous hardwood forests and swampy woodlands, though they can be found in coniferous forests and fields too. They prefer vernal pools that retain water into mid-summer, to ensure access to a suitable breeding habitat. Underbrush, leaf litter, rocks and logs are commonly used for shelter.

Edible Notes: Not known to be edible.
Warnings: Amphibians, like reptiles, can carry Salmonella, which is a potentially deadly bacteria. It is safer for you (and the amphibian) to not touch them or anything in the area where they live, but if you do: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water immediately after touching. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.