Spotted salamander

Adult spotted salamanders are 15-25 cm in total length, and females tend to be larger than males. Compared to other salamanders, the body is stout with a broadly rounded snout. The sides of the head are often swollen at the back of the jaw. The legs are large and strong with four to five toes.

When they leave their ponds, spotted salamanders are black, dark brown, or dark grey on their backs, and the belly of these salamanders is a pale greyish-blue. The common name comes from two rows of yellow or orange spots which run from the head to the end of the tail. Spotted salamanders with no spots are sometimes found, but are very rare.

Spotted salamanders have poison glands in their skin, mostly on their backs and tails. These glands release a sticky white toxic liquid when the animal is threatened.

When baby spotted salamanders hatch, they have front legs (unlike frog tadpoles), frilly red gills on the sides of their neck, and their bodies are dull green on top and very pale, almost white, underneath. Their tail are green too, and have little dark specks or blotches on them.

Adult spotted salamanders are preyed upon by larger animals, including skunksraccoons, turtles, and snakes, especially garter snakes (genus Thamnophis). Like many other salamanders, adult spotted salamanders have special glands on their back and tail that produce a bad-tasting poison. The bright spotting on these salamanders is a warning to predators of their bad taste and poisonous protection.

Adult spotted salamanders respond to attack by arching the body and sometimes butting with the head or lashing with the tail, probably to expose the predator to as much poison as possible. They sometimes bite, and individuals of all sizes may also make sounds when attacked.

Spotted salamanders can be important to the community of species that live and breed in vernal pools, affecting the abundance and diversity of other species in the pools, especially other amphibians. Gray treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis and Hyla versicolor) avoid breeding in ponds with spotted salamanders in them, and depending on the timing and size of the other species present, spotted salamanders may reduce the population of other Ambystoma species in their pools.

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photo sources 1 and 2

OK SO since I literally cannot find whether or not this animal is legal I am going to post this here! Like a week ago two customers came in and were going to give my boss this Spotted Salamander they found under a log. But he saw me freaking out behind them about it and suggested they give him/her to me!


Mike named her Sweet Potato. (aka Yam!)

She’s in a kritter keeper for the moment until I get her outfitted with a 10gal. She’s eating crickets like a champ (I wasn’t sure she was eating at first) and I’ll get worms to chop up ASAP.

UPDATE REGARDING UPDATES: February’s been a bit ROUGH for me to say the least, so comic updates have suffered a bit. Scalie Schoolie will be back March 2nd and will begin updating twice per week on Monday and Wednesday. Death By Misadventure will still update on Fridays, and should update once more before the end of February.

Also here’s an Amber I guess.


Strauch’s Spotted Newt (Neurergus strauchii)

Also known as the Anatolian Newt, strauch’s spotted newt is a species of salamander found only in Anatolian plateau in Turkey. Like most salamanders the Anatolian newt is commonly found in small streams and rivers where it preys nocturnally on annelids, insect larvae and small arthropods. During the mating season male Strauch’s spotted newts perform an elaborate mating display, which involves tail-fanning and other movements, to secure a mate.



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If you’d paid attention in science class, maybe you would be getting paid to put tiny hats on dung beetles too. TINY HATS.

The 6 Coolest Survival Traits Designed by Evolution

#3. African Dung Beetles Navigate Using the Milky Way

It turns out that African dung beetles can actually see the dim strip of light that is the Milky Way from the Southern Hemisphere. This is incredible for an animal of this size, or anything without a telescope, for that matter. And the absolute best part? The dung beetles’ galactic navigation abilities were proven by forcing test beetles to don tiny hats that blocked their view of the sky. The beetles then proceeded to roll around aimlessly, never getting anything done or having any clue as to where they were going, but at least thinking they looked pretty damn fly while doing it. You know: Just like every dude who wears a fedora.

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Blue-spotted Salamander

Ambystoma laterale (Ambystomatidae), the Blue-spotted Salamander, is a species found in North America from southeastern Quebec to Lake Winnipeg, south through Great Lakes region and New England to northern Indiana and New Jersey. 

It is known that Ambystoma laterale hybridizes with A. jeffersonianum over a large area south of this range. So, being found in Allen County and in the hybrid zone the Blue-spotted shown in the photo would be more than likely of the Jefferson’s / Blue-spotted complex salamander or Hybrid Blue-spotted. Also known as a Unisexual Hybrid Salamander

Hybrid populations result from the breeding of Blue-spotted Salamanders with other members of the Ambystoma genus. Most hybrids are triploid females. Normal salamanders are diploid, having two sets of chromosomes in their body cells; triploid salamanders have an extra set. 

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Matt Weldon

Locality: Allen County, Indiana, US