Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Salamander Spotlight: RINGED SALAMANDER (Ambystoma annulatum)

Ringed Salamanders reach a length of up to 7 slimy inches.

The range of the Ringed, occurring in forested areas in the Ozark and Ouachita Mountain ranges of MO, AK, and eastern OK.

If you can't figure out where this species gets its common name, I'll just sit here and sigh while you try to think... what seriously? JUST LOOK AT THE #@%*! THING! Oh wait, you're messing with me, aren't you?

A. annulatum often takes cover in subterranean burrows and under heavy leaf litter to keep from drying out. They are seldom seen, but when they are encountered it's usually after heavy rains, when they emerge to breed.

Annulatum has the distinctive short round nose and large eyes of the family Ambystomatidae, the Mole Salamanders (including Tiger, Spotted, and Marbled Salamanders); so called because of the burrowing habits of many of its members.

The larva (or tadpole) of the Ringed Salamander. This species breeds in the fall, in temporary pools formed from heavy rains. The breeding congregations can include 10's to 100's of individuals.

A bucket of Ringed Salamanders gathered for my friend Mark. Don't eat them all at once!

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