Jefferson's Salamander

From Ohio History Central

The Jefferson's (or Jefferson) salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum) looks similar to the spotted salamander. It has a slender dark body, 4.5 to 7 inches long, with a wide nose, long toes and small silver-blue specks on its sides. It was named for Jefferson College in Pennsylvania, which was named for Thomas Jefferson. It can be found throughout Ohio in moist woodlands. This habitat provides the large insects, earthworms, amphibians and small mice that makes up its diet.

The Jefferson's is a member of the mole salamander family. They are burrowers, spending most of their lives underground. They have well developed lungs, unlike salamanders that belong to the lungless family. The tiger salamander is another member of the mole salamander family.

Because of living underground, and being nocturnal, it is uncommon to see the Jefferson's except in the early spring when it migrates to ponds during the breeding season of March and April. Between 150 and 300 eggs are laid. Once the larva hatch, it takes 2 - 4 months to metamorphose into land living adults. The male Jefferson's will breed with another mole salamander, the blue spotted salamander. Their young are hybrids, known as triploid Jefferson's salamanders, are always female. When these hybrids become adults and breed with male Jefferson's salamanders, they also produce only female triploids.

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