Ambystoma maculatum

Common Names: Yellow Spotted Salamander
Category: Amphibians
Sub-category: Salamanders

A mole salamander common in the eastern United States and Canada. The Spotted Salamander is the state amphibian of South Carolina. It has recently been found that its embryos have symbiotic algae living inside them.

The spotted salamander is about 15-25 centimeters long. They are stout, like most mole salamanders, and have a wide snout. The spotted salamander's main color is black, but can sometimes be a blueish black, dark grey, dark green, or even dark brown. There are two rows of yellowish orange spots that run from the top of the head (near the eyes) to the tip of the tail. These rows are uneven. Interestingly, the spotted salamander's spots near the top of the head are more orange, while the spots on the rest of its body are more yellow. The underside of the spotted salamander is slate gray and pink.

The spotted salamander usually makes its home in hardwood forest areas that have vernal pools. Spotted salamanders are fossorial, meaning that they spend most of their time underground. They rarely come above-ground, except after a rain or for foraging and breeding. During the winter, they hibernate underground, and are not seen again until breeding season in early March-May.

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.