Fun Marbled Salamander Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 12, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel
Marbled Salamander facts are very interesting to learn.

Marbled salamanders, Ambystoma opacum, are large, chubby, stout-bodied animals of the amphibian group of the mole salamander family. They have been given their name because of the fact that the adult marbled salamanders have silvery-white crossbands that cover their back.

They are also known as the banded salamander because of the gray or white crossbands across their whole body, including their head and tail. While other members of the mole salamander species breed in the water, marbled salamanders do not.

This salamander breeds in dried-up ponds, ditches, and pools.

They usually stay underground during dry weather and leave the woods to migrate to nearby ponds or pools in the fall when the breeding season starts, where it mates. Although it may differ from other salamanders in its mating habitat preference, like other salamanders, it has poison glands located in its tail to help deter predators.

To learn more about this interesting and unique animal, read on.

If you love reading about marbled salamanders, then you may also be interested in reading spring salamander facts and spotted salamander facts.

Marbled Salamander Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a marbled salamander?

Marbled salamanders (scientific name Ambystoma opacum) are salamanders belonging to the family Abystomatidae.

What class of animal does a marbled salamander belong to?

Marbled salamanders belong to the class Amphibia.

How many marbled salamanders are there in the world?

In the areas in which they are found, marbled salamander populations are very common. Their exact population is as yet unknown.

Where does a marbled salamander live?

Marbled salamander range vastly across terrestrial areas of eastern and southeastern United States- from New England to northern Florida, from southern Illinois to southeastern Oklahoma, and even eastern Texas. They can also be found in the Gulf of Mexico and Carolina Coast.

What is a marbled salamander's habitat?

The marbled salamander's habitat consists of terrestrial, low-lying fertile areas, which are typically dominated by hardwood trees. Their habitat also includes floodplains, damp woodlands close to streams or ponds, and dry hillsides close to a moist environment.

Who do marbled salamanders live with?

Outside of their breeding season in fall, marbled salamanders are very solitary.

How long does a marbled salamander live?

The marbled salamander can live up to 10 years in the wild and almost 12 years in captivity. This increased longevity in captivity is basically due to the fact that in the wild, they often fall prey to predators like raccoons, owls, snakes, skunks, weasels, shrews, and many more.

How do they reproduce?

Unlike others of its species, the reproduction season and habitat of this species are different. Marbled salamanders mate on dry land instead of in ponds, pools, or other water sources, and instead of spring being its breeding season, it is fall.

The males of this species, after finding their ideal mate, court her by moving in circular motions with her. The male will then move his tail up and down in an undulated fashion, raise his body, and release the spermatophore on the ground.

The female then picks it up with her cloacal lips. The female, after mating, finds a dried-up pond or ditch or depression in the ground and lays her clutch of 50-200 eggs.

The female will lay the eggs beneath leaf litter. Females stay with the eggs in the leaf litter and keep them moist and wait for the pond to flood.

Once the rains come, and the nests are flooded, the marbled salamander eggs hatch. The marbled salamander larvae, after they hatch, are gray in color and require rain to grow.

These larvae also grow at a fast pace. The marbled salamander life cycle is marked by going through a metamorphosis.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum) is of Least Concern according to the IUCN Red List.

Marbled Salamander Fun Facts

What do marbled salamanders look like?

They are also known as the banded salamander

Adult marbled salamanders are chubby in appearance and stout-bodied. They can be easily identified by the dark brown or black body with white or silvery crossbands across its dorsum.

The females tend to have gray or silvery crossbands while the males have white crossbands, therefore they are dimorphic. Both males and females have 11-12 costal or vertical grooves. The tails are not as well developed as other members of the mole salamanders' species and are stubby.

The crossbands are absent in juveniles, and they have flecks instead. The larvae are gray in color and resemble the tadpole larvae.

How cute are they?

Marbled salamanders (Ambystoma opacum), although slimy to touch, are really cute in their appearance.

How do they communicate?

Marbled salamanders are solitary creatures, and males do not communicate unless courting the females to breed.

How big is a marbled salamander?

Adults of this species are around 3.5-4.2 in (9-10.7 cm) in length. They are much smaller than the average size of other mole salamander species.

How fast can a marbled salamander move?

Marbled salamanders don't usually move a lot, and their speed is not known yet.

How much does a marbled salamander weigh?

The weight of marbled salamander adults is not known, but the species it belongs to, mole salamanders, have been known to weigh around 0.45 oz (13 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no sex-specific names for male and female marbled salamanders.

What would you call a baby marbled salamander?

Marbled salamander larvae are known by the name efts and resemble tadpoles.

What do they eat?

Marbled salamanders eat insects, tadpoles, larvae, slugs, worms, and snails. The hatched marbled salamander larvae diet is based on macrozooplanktons. The larger larvae diet consists of zooplankton, amphibian larvae, and insect eggs.

Are they poisonous?

Although they have a poison gland located below their tail that they use against predators, it gives only a certain degree of protection. To humans, this poison is not harmful. Thus, as is the case with other salamanders, when it comes to marbled salamanders, they are not really poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Marbled salamanders make good pets and are often kept as pets in groups and sometimes alone.

Did you know...

This species status is listed as Threatened by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Adult marbled salamanders usually only migrate at night.

Each adult marbled salamander is vitally important to its population, so if you find this species in its habitat, you should leave it there.

Their eggs have the quality to remain dormant throughout the winter and hatch the following spring if no rain comes after the eggs are laid by the females. Rain is essential for these eggs to hatch.

Do marbled salamanders hibernate?

Yes, marbled salamanders do hibernate in the winter, and they hibernate close to their breeding sites.

Can you keep a marbled salamander as a pet?

A marbled salamander pet can be a great option, but what is also important is marbled salamander care. It is important that if you keep them in a group, there is adequate space for each of them.

It is also necessary to monitor every one of them as male aggression is possible in close quarters, which can cause several problems, like the risk of infection due to fighting or loss of appetite.

They should also be provided with damp soil and an ideal temperature in their glass terrariums or plastic tanks. A good quality dusting powder is essential as it will provide vitamins and calcium to them.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other amphibians including hellbender salamander facts, or fire salamander facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable marbled salamander coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel

Bachelor of Business Management

Yashvee Patel picture

Yashvee PatelBachelor of Business Management

Yashvee has won awards for both her writing and badminton skills. She holds a business administration honors degree and has previously interned with social media clients and worked on content for an international student festival. Yashvee has excelled in academic competitions, ranking in the top 100 in the Unified International English Olympiad and placing second in an essay-writing competition. Additionally, she has won the inter-school singles badminton title for two consecutive years.

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