Mole Salamanders (Family Ambystomaditae)
Mole salamanders (Genus Ambystoma) are a group of salamanders
endemic to North America, the only genus in Family Ambystomatidae.
The group has become famous due to the presence of the Axolotl
(Ambystoma mexicanum), widely used in research, and the tiger
salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum, Ambystoma mavortium) which
is the official amphibian of many states, and often sold as a pet.
Terrestrial mole salamanders are identified by having wide, protrud-
ing eyes, prominent costal grooves, thick arms, and rounded tails.
Most have vivid patterning on dark backgrounds, with marks rang-
ing from deep blue spots to large yellow bars depending on the spe-
cies. Terrestrial adults spend most of their life underground in bur-
rows either of their own making or abandoned by other animals.
Some Northern species may hibernate in these burrows throughout
the winter. They live alone and feed on any available invertebrate.
Adults spend little time in the water, only returning to the ponds of
their birth to breed.
Crooked Run Valley