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Checklist of Amphibian Species and Identification Guide

Long-toed Salamander, Ambystoma macrodactylum


ambystoma macrodactylum This individual was found near Bend Oregon, an area where three subspecies, A. m. krausei, A. m. macrodactylum and A. m. sigillatum, intergrade (hybridize).

The Long-Toed Salamander is a slender member of the Mole Salamander Family (Ambystomatidae) with long toes, as the name implies. It reaches total lengths of about 4 - 6.5 inches. They are dark to black above and have a dorsal stripe running from their head back almost to the tip of the tail. These salamanders usually have a white or silver flecking on their sides as well. There are 5 recognized subspecies of the Long-Toed Salamander and the color pattern varies among them. The stripe may be a continuous line (with either neat or jagged edges), a series of fused spots or even a series of separate spots, the color of the stripe varies as well, and can be gold, yellow, green or tan in appearance. The general appearance of the five subspecies is as follows, but considerable overlap in pattern occurs where subspecies meet.

  • Eastern Long-toed Salamander, A. m. columbianum - stripe yellow to tan, wavy edged or consisting of fused spots, separate spots on head.
  • Santa Cruz Long-toed Salamander, A. m. croceum - endangered; dark, usually black; stripe broken into orange to yellow spots, small spots on head.
  • Northern Long-toed Salamander, A. m. krausei - stripe yellow, narrow and unbroken, edges nearly parallel.
  • Western Long-toed, A. m. macrodactylum - stripe green to yellow with uneven edges, reduced to spots on head; sides heavily sprinkled with white spots.
  • Southern Long-toed Salamander, A. m. sigillatum - stripe broken into yellow spots, small spots on head.
Long-toed Salamanders are found in a variety of habitats, from arid sagebrush communities to alpine meadows, but usually not very far from a water source. They are early breeders, though timing depends on altitude and latitude. In southern lowlands as early as January, in cold alpine environments as late as July (as soon as the ice begins to melt). Long-Toed Salamander Range

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