Mabee’s Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Amybstoma mabeei

Classification: Amphibian

Conservation Status:

Size: Up to 4.5 inches

Distribution: This species occurs only in the Coastal Plain from South Carolina to southeastern Virginia. They occupy mixed hardwood forests and use ephemeral wetlands for breeding.

Identifying Characteristics

Adult Mabee’s Salamanders are dark gray to black with a highly variable number of silver specks that are confined to the sides of adults. In juveniles, they occur in patches over the entire body. The belly is gray.

Did You Know?

This species was not known to occur in Virginia until 1979.

Role in the Web of Life

Adults emerge from underground retreats in winter months. Males arrive first, then court females and deposit spermatophores on leaves in the bottom of the pool. Females arrive later and pick up the sperm packets in their cloacae for internal fertilization. They lay a single egg or in strings of 2–6 eggs attached to leaves or sticks in the pool. Adult and larval prey consists of a variety of insects and their larvae, worms, and other small invertebrates. Predaceous larvae of aquatic insects and sirens are predators in breeding pools.


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

Last updated: February 22, 2021