Skip to Main Content

Mole Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Ambystoma talpoideum

Classification: Amphibian

Conservation Status:

Size: Up to 4.5 inches

Identifying Characteristics

The body color is brown or gray with pale bluish white flecks; the tail usually has black spots. The belly in adults is uniform gray to olive brown without markings, whereas larvae and juveniles have a plain yellowish belly with a black stripe down the middle.


Mole Salamanders occur in the middle Piedmont in Virginia. These are temporary pond breeders in swamps, river floodplains, and fish-free impoundments in mixed hardwood and pine forests.

Did You Know?

In some southern populations, the larvae do not metamorphose into the adult form, but retain gills and reproduce in the larval form.

Role in the Web of Life

In Virginia, males enter ponds in late winter. Females lay up to 100 eggs singly or in small clusters on the bottom in leaf litter. Larva eat small aquatic invertebrates, and salamander larvae including their own species. Adults eat terrestrial invertebrates such as worms and soft-bodied insects and their larvae. Predators include northern watersnakes, black racers, gartersnakes, ribbonsnakes, and wading birds.


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

Last updated: January 22, 2024

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Species Profile Database serves as a repository of information for Virginia’s fish and wildlife species. The database is managed and curated by the Wildlife Information and Environmental Services (WIES) program. Species profile data, distribution information, and photography is generated by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, State and Federal agencies, Collection Permittees, and other trusted partners. This product is not suitable for legal, engineering, or surveying use. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources does not accept responsibility for any missing data, inaccuracies, or other errors which may exist. In accordance with the terms of service for this product, you agree to this disclaimer.