The spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) is sometimes confused with the Jefferson's salamander. It has a dark body, like the Jefferson's, but the spotted salamander has a chunkier body with two rows of bright yellow or gold spots on its sides.
The spotted salamander 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. Other members of the mole salamander family include the Jefferson's and tiger salamander.
Nocturnal, the spotted salamander migrates to breeding ponds at night. The breeding period is from March through April. Up to a hundred eggs are attached to an underwater stick or plant. Once attached, water is absorbed into the jelly-like substance that surrounds them until the egg mass becomes the size of a fist. Larvae hatch in four to seven weeks and another two to four months to metamorphose into land living adults. The average adult body length is 6 - 7.75 inches. Their life expectancy is 20 years, maximum.
Adults prefer a habitat of moist woodlands near swamps, ponds, and creeks. Typical foods in their diet include large insects, earthworms, amphibians and small mice.
Spotted salamanders are found widespread throughout Ohio where there is sufficient habitat. Threats to the species include pollutants, wetland filling, introduction of insecticides and herbicides and loss of adult habitat.