The Four-Toed Salamander is a small salamander measuring only two to four inches in length. It has dark rust to gray-brown coloring, with gray sides and a white belly sprinkled with black dots. It is recognizable from other species due to its four-toed back feet and constricted ring around the base of the tail. Four-toed salamanders have short snouts and prominent eyes. Sexual dimorphism is observed; the female has a rounded snout while the male snout is a bit longer and square-shaped. Females may also be slightly larger than males. The tails of adults are quite long, longer in fact than the rest of the body, may be more brightly colored than the rest of the body, and are easily detachable in case it needs to escape. If it does detach, the tail will continue to wiggle for several minutes so that the rest of the salamander can get away. This process is called autotomy. Four-toed salamanders are plethodontids. They lack lungs and absorb all of their oxygen through their skin in a process called cutaneous respiration. Because of this it is critical they remain wet at all times as the moisture on their skin helps the gaseous exchange with the air. Four-toed salamanders' adult diet consists of insects and small invertebrates such as ticks, beetles, spiders, and worms. During the larval stage they eat the zooplankton found in the water.
- MA Division of Fish and Wildlife - Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program - Four-toed Salamander
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