DEEP: Blue-Spotted Salamander Complex

Blue-spotted Salamander Complex

(Ambystoma laterale complex)

{Blue-spotted Salamander Complex}

IDENTIFICATION: Slender, narrow head, black coloration with blue flecks, especially on belly, sides, and tail. Tail flattened laterally. Small to medium size, adults 70-120 mm total length.

First reported from Connecticut by Klemens and Dubos (1978), this salamander is irregularly distributed on both sides of the Connecticut River where it is associated with riparian red maple swamps. It usually breeds in slightly flowing water and is found in marble valleys as well as acidic areas underlain by sandy soils. West of the Connecticut River, it occurs in low lying portions of the Housatonic uplands, northern Fairfield County, and along the base of several trap rock ridges in Hartford and New Haven Counties. It is more localized east of the Connecticut River, recorded from three sites in the Scantic River Basin. Connecticut is near the southern range limit of the blue-spotted salamander. As its swampland habitats are more extensive and usually protected by wetland regulations, and populations of salamanders often large, it is less vulnerable to extirpation than the Jefferson salamander, with which it has hybridized extensively within southern New England. Connecticut populations are dominated by hybrid females (Bogart and Klemens, 1997) possessing characteristics of both species, and can be reliably distinguished only by karyological and biochemical analyses. The blue spotted salamander complex is a "Special Concern Species" in Connecticut. Collection is prohibited under Section 26-66-13-A of the Connecticut Code. The blue-spotted salamander complex is also of conservation concern throughout much of its northeastern United States range, with many states affording the species special status and/or protection.

Salamanders | Amphibians and Reptiles in Connecticut