A medium-sized salamander (8 inches; 20.3 cm) that is generally stocky in overall body shape. The background color is black with blue or metallic blue flecking. The degree of flecking varies widely. This, coupled with the amount of hybridization that occurs between this and other species throughout its range, can make it difficult to identify readily in the field.
Lays 10 to 20 egg masses of 15 eggs each in vernal pools in the spring. Eggs hatch 30 to 45 days later and larvae usually complete metamorphosis by September.
Spends most of its life underground, but surfaces to breed. During the breeding season it can be found under logs and rocks in woodland habitat, or at woodland edges near vernal pools.
Feeds on a variety of invertebrates, including earthworms and insects.
A band ranging from Indiana east to central Massachusetts; from the southern coast of Lake Erie south to Virginia. In Connecticut the range is spotty and complicated by the fact that this species hybridizes with others in its range.
Diploid populations are threatened in Connecticut, while hybrid “complex” populations are of special concern.
Conant, R. and J.T. Collins. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern/Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 450 pp.
Klemens, MW. 1993. Amphibians and Reptiles of Connecticut and Adjacent Regions. Hartford, CT: State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut Bulletin 112. 318 pp.
Text by Gregory J. Watkins-Colwell.
Photographs © Twan Leenders. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Animals featured in photographs on this page are from Canada and New York.