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Eastern Tiger Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Ambystoma tigrinum

Classification: Amphibian

Conservation Status:

Size: Up to 12 inches

Distribution: Its Virginia distribution is nearly all of the Coastal Plain, but a remnant population of an ancient lineage occurs in Augusta County. In Virginia, they inhabit hardwood and mixed hardwood-pine forests and use ephemeral wetlands for reproduction.

Identifying Characteristics

Tiger Salamanders have robust bodies and large heads. Adults are bluish gray to nearly black with irregularly shaped yellowish spots that turn into bars on the tail. Bellies are olive yellow to cream with faint dark smudges. Larvae are gray to olive with black smudges and a white belly.

Did You Know?

This is the only species of mole salamander that creates its own burrow.

Role in the Web of Life

Movement to ponds occurs during cold winter rains. Females lay 5–122 eggs in loose gelatinous clusters attached to vegetation stems in water. Larvae consume invertebrates and larvae of other salamanders. Adults eat worms, other invertebrates, and small rodents. Larvae are eaten by larvae of predaceous insects. Watersnakes and wading birds take adults.

Conservation

State Endangered, Tier II Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Virginia’s Wildlife Action Plan.

Last updated: February 22, 2021