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: February 22, 2021