american bullfrog

Barred Tiger Salamander

Ambystoma mavortium mavortium


Description

The Barred Tiger Salamander has a broad head and body. It is dark brown or black in color with a pattern of yellow bars. Juveniles are legless and breathe underwater with external gills.

Size

Barred Tiger Salamanders usually measure 6 to 8 inches in length.

Adaptations

Diet

Barred Tiger Salamanders consume a variety of invertebrate prey, including insects, slugs, and earthworms. At Cosley Zoo, the salamanders are fed crickets, earthworms, and a vitamin supplement.

Reproduction

These salamanders breed in early spring after a heavy rain. Breeding takes place in shallow bodies of water. Females lay eggs and attach them to underwater plants, where they incubate for about 3 weeks. Juveniles are completely aquatic, breathing with gills instead of lungs. They are also legless. After about a year, the young salamanders will metamorphosize (change) into terrestrial adults that have legs and breathe with lungs.

Shelter and Space Needs

Tiger Salamanders live in moist environments where their skin will not dry out and they have standing water in which to lay their eggs. Tiger Salamanders spend a large portion of their lives underground in burrows. In the winter, tiger salamanders burrow deep into the ground and go into a dormant state.

Life Expectancy

Tiger Salamanders may live up to 15-20 years in captivity. Their life span in the wild is uncertain.

Importance to Man

Salamanders and other amphibians are known as "environmental indicators" because they are extremely sensitive to changes in the environment. A high mortality rate or an increase in birth defects can be a sign that an area is becoming polluted. Salamanders are also predators of some insect pests.

Fun Facts