Caudata Ambystoma texanum -- Small-mouthed Salamander
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Purple shade indicates vouchered specimens. Light blue (cyan)
shade indicates photographic records. Yellow shade indicates verified
sighting. Slanted hatch indicates pre-1980 records only
NOTE: Not all specimens upon which these maps are based have been verified.
Key Characters: Small head; short, narrow snout; protruding lower jaw.
Similar Species: Blue-spotted salamander, mole salamander, Jefferson salamander, silvery salamander, slimy salamander.
Description: A medium-sized (up to 17 cm TL) salamander with lichenlike gray markings along sides. Costal grooves 14-16. Limbs and toes relatively short. Adpressed limbs usually separated by 2-4 costal folds. In contrast to single tooth rows in other Illinois Ambystoma, A. texanum has 2-3 maxillary tooth rows, one behind the other.
Habitat: Widespread in poorly drained woodlands, prairies, pastures, and even cultivated or urban areas where breeding ponds remain. Most prevalent under logs and occasionally in excavated crayfish burrows and drainage tiles. Adults are occasionally found on rocky hillsides.
Natural History: Adults are subterranean outside of breeding season and migrate to breeding ponds (fish-free ponds, drainage ditches, vernal woodland pools, low, flooded places in cultivated fields) from January to March (April in northern counties) during prolonged rain. Eggs have even been found in cisterns. Several hundred small eggs (2 mm diameter) are deposited in masses of 6-30, attached to sticks and vegetation in water. Depending on when eggs were laid, larvae transform May through July. Adults eat earthworms, slugs, and various arthropods.
Status: Greatest threat is loss of wet areas for breeding and larval development. Common and widespread.