Scientific Name: Pseudotriton montanus diastictus
Classification: Amphibian, Order Urodela, Family Plethodontidae
Relatives: Pseudotriton montanus
Size: Up to 8 inches
Life Span: These salamanders haven't had their lifespan measuring in the wild but life up to 15 years in captivity
Habitat: The mud salamander prefers freshwater habitats exclusively below 700 meters of elevation such as marshes and streams which contain muddy regions where they can create their burrows or inhabit old crayfish holes.
Diet: As aquatic larvae the mud salamander feeds on small aquatic invertebrates. Not much is known about the adults’ food habits, but it is thought that they eat small invertebrates, such as beetles, spiders, and mites.
Distribution: Found throughout the southeastern United states from the tip of Florida to New York the two subspecies of Mud Salamander that occur in Virginia; the Midland Mud Salamander (P. m. diastictus) and the Eastern Mud Salamander (P. m. montanus). The former occurs in southwest Virginia, while the latter occurs throughout much of the Coastal Plain. They inhabit a variety of wetlands with mucky or muddy bottoms.
This is one of the most colorful eastern salamanders. It is short-tailed and stout. The coloration is bright coral-pink to brilliant red with large, well-separated black or brown spots on the back. The underside is not marked except for a dark stripe on the edge of the lower jaw. It reaches a maximum length of about 4.7 inches (156 mm). Courtship is in the early fall, with spawning in December and hatching in February. The average clutch contains 127 eggs. This species reproduces every other year or every three years.
Reproduction and juvenile behavior
Mud Salamanders have an average clutch size of 129 eggs, which is one of the largest clutch sizes of any North American woodland salamander. These eggs are laid on marine debris and incubated by the female until they hatch three months later between January and March as fully aquatic larvae which are dark brown with a reddish tinge once they reach 35-44 millimeters in length they metamorphosize into their adult forms at which point they will be yellow in color and turn more red given time.
Virginia herpetological society “Eastern mud salamander” https://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/amphibians/salamanders/eastern-mud-salamander/index.php
Virginia herpetological society “Midland mud salamander” https://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/amphibians/salamanders/midland-mud-salamander/index.php
Smart, C. 2006. “Pseudotriton montanus” (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed August 03, 2023 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Pseudotriton_montanus/
Updated 2023: Mara Snyder
Last updated: August 18, 2023
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