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This site was created by students in the herpetology class at Towson University.  Site last updated: 05/21/07.

Acknowledgements: Herb Harris - Range Maps;  Mark Tegges - Photography; Dan Lapascha & Gigi Forester - TU Herpetology Logo

Eastern Tiger Salamander

(Ambystoma tigrinum)



There are several subspecies of this animal throughout the United States.  The subspecies found in Maryland is the Eastern tiger salamander (A. tigrinum tigrinum).  It is usually between 18 and 21 cm long but can be up to 33 cm long.  Its stocky and dark brown or black body has irregular yellow-brown or olive-brown spots on its back and sides.  The olive-yellow venter is marbled with darker pigment.  The tiger salamander is a rare species in Maryland.


       Like most ambystomatid salamanders, the Jefferson salamander spends the majority of its time in underground burrows or tunnels that have been excavated by small mammals, but they will leave their burrows on rainy nights for foraging and during the breeding season.


      During winter and early spring nights, adults emerge from burrows and migrate to breeding ponds.  After a brief courtship, in which the male pushes his nose against the female's body, the female lays her eggs in a mass and attaches them to twigs or weed stems underwater.  More than one mass may be deposited, with each mass containing between 25 and 50 eggs.  Eggs hatch four weeks later, and larvae stay in the pond until late July or early August, when they undergo metamorphosis.  Sexual maturity is reached in 4 to 5 years, and individuals can live for up to 12 to 15 years.

Distribution in Maryland


Range map adapted from Harris, 1975.