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Due to exceptionally dry conditions, the Department of Wildlife Resources has implemented a complete ban on any open burning (e.g., campfires, grills) on all DWR properties west of Interstate 95, effective immediately and lasting until further notice.

Spotted Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Ambystoma maculatum

Classification: Amphibian

Size: Up to 9 inches

Distribution: They are found throughout Virginia, except for the lower region of the Eastern Shore and the southeastern corner. Breeding occurs in ephemeral pools and ponds, and even tire rut puddles near or within mixed hardwood forests.

Identifying Characteristics

This is a black, robust salamander with yellow to orange spots on its head, body, and tail. Adult bellies are gray. Juveniles are uniformly gray; spots appear when they get older. Larvae are brown to gray with a line of small, yellow spots on each side. Spotted Salamander larvae are almost identical to Marbled Salamander larvae, but have tiny black dots on the white throat.

Did You Know?

In southern populations, juveniles may take 2–3 years to reach sexual maturity.

Role in the Web of Life

Adults emerge from underground retreats in late- winter. Males move to breeding ponds first, then females. Clear or opaque gelatinous masses containing up to about 250 eggs are attached to stems in the water. The incubation period is relatively long lasting 4–7 weeks. Adults and larvae eat a wide variety of invertebrates.


Species appears to be secure in Virginia.

Last updated: August 19, 2023

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.