Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Ambystoma annulatum has a slender girth, well-rounded body and, among salamanders, a generally small head and long tail. Adults grow to a range of 140-180 mm snout-vent length, with a record length of 255 mm. This species usually has 15 costal grooves (Behler 1996). It has a depressed snout that is evenly and bluntly rounded. Vomerine teeth are arrayed in two short series located entirely behind the choanae. Each series consists of about 7-11 small, blunt teeth. There are five toes on each hind foot (Bishop 1962).

In life, the dorsal color of adults ranges from dark gray to blackish brown, with contrasting white to yellowish bands. Ventrally, the color varies from light gray to yellowish, peppered with light-colored spots. There is typically a short, light colored bar between the eyes that may continue below the eyes to point diagonally posterior. Recently metamorphosed juveniles have a drab green to dark gray dorsal surface, and a row of dorsolateral yellowish spots extending from the front limbs to the tip of the tail. Laterally, a broad band runs from the gills two-thirds of the way down the tail, which lacks pigmentation. Bellies are grayish-yellow. Juveniles develop the blotches or rings that characterize this species approximately two months after metamorphosis (Hutcherson et al. 1998). The sexes are monomorphic and it is unknown whether there is any geographic or seasonal variation (Bishop 1962; Johnson 1977; Petranka 1998).

The specific epithet annulatum means "ringed" (Beltz 2002).

  • Behler, J.L. and King, F.W. (1996). National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Knopf, New York, NY.
  • Beltz, E. (2002). ''Names of the reptiles and amphibians of North America.'' Original Description Citations for the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America.
  • Bishop, S.C. (1962). Handbook of Salamanders. Hafner, New York, NY.
  • Hutcherson, J. E., Peterson, C. L. and Wilkinson, R. F. (1989). ''Reproductive and larval biology of Ambystoma annulatum.'' Journal of Herpetology, 23, 181-183.
  • Johnson, T.R. (1977). The Amphibians of Missouri. University of Kansas Publications, Lawrence, KS.
  • Mathis, A., Murray, K. L., and Hickman, C. R. (2003). ''Do experience and body size play a role in responses of larval ringed salamanders, Ambystoma annulatum, to predator kairomones? Laboratory and field assays .'' Ethology, 109, 159-170.
  • McAllister, C. T., Trauth, S. E., and Cochran, B. G. (1995). ''Endoparasites of the ringed salamander, Ambystoma annulatum (Caudata: Ambystomatidae), from Arkansas.'' The Southwestern Naturalist, 40, 327-330.
  • Noble, G. K., and Marshall, B. C. (1929). ''The breeding habits of two salamanders.'' American Museum Novitates, 347, 1-12.
  • Nyman, S., Wilkinson, R. F., and Hutcherson, J. E. (1993). ''Cannibalism and size relations in a cohort of larval ringed salamanders (Ambystoma annulatum).'' Journal of Herpetology, 27, 78-84.
  • Petranka, J. W. (1998). Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington and London.
  • Spotila, J. R., and Beumer, R. J. (1970). ''The breeding habits of the ringed salamander, Ambystoma annulatum (Cope), in northwestern Arkansas.'' American Midlands Naturalist, 84, 77-89.
  • Trapp, M. M. (1956). ''Range and natural history of the ringed salamander Ambystoma annulatum, Cope (Ambystomatidae), .'' Southwestern Naturalist, 1, 78-82.
  • Trapp, M. M. (1959). Studies on the Life History of Ambystoma annulatum Cope. Master's Thesis. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
  • Wilson, T. J. (1993). ''.'' Predation of Ringed Salamander Larvae, Ambystoma annulatum. Southwest Missouri State University, M.S. Thesis, Springfield.
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Distribution

Range Description

This species can be found in the Ozark Plateau and Ouachita Mountains of southern Missouri, eastern Oklahoma, and western Arkansas, United States.
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Distribution and Habitat

Ambystoma annulatum is native to hardwood and mixed hardwood-pine forested areas in and around the Ozark Plateau and Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri (Petranka 1998). Most specimens are found in the vicinity of Hot Springs, Arkansas and the Missouri portion of the Ozark Plateau (Bishop 1962; Johnson 1977). Small populations have also been found in western Illinois and eastern Oklahoma (Petranka 1998).

Ambystoma annulatum is found in damp forested areas, usually under leaves, rotting logs, or in abandoned ground holes of other organisms, near shallow ponds. This species is highly fossorial (adapted to digging), and adults are often found in subterranean refuges (Petranka 1998).

  • Behler, J.L. and King, F.W. (1996). National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Knopf, New York, NY.
  • Beltz, E. (2002). ''Names of the reptiles and amphibians of North America.'' Original Description Citations for the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America.
  • Bishop, S.C. (1962). Handbook of Salamanders. Hafner, New York, NY.
  • Hutcherson, J. E., Peterson, C. L. and Wilkinson, R. F. (1989). ''Reproductive and larval biology of Ambystoma annulatum.'' Journal of Herpetology, 23, 181-183.
  • Johnson, T.R. (1977). The Amphibians of Missouri. University of Kansas Publications, Lawrence, KS.
  • Mathis, A., Murray, K. L., and Hickman, C. R. (2003). ''Do experience and body size play a role in responses of larval ringed salamanders, Ambystoma annulatum, to predator kairomones? Laboratory and field assays .'' Ethology, 109, 159-170.
  • McAllister, C. T., Trauth, S. E., and Cochran, B. G. (1995). ''Endoparasites of the ringed salamander, Ambystoma annulatum (Caudata: Ambystomatidae), from Arkansas.'' The Southwestern Naturalist, 40, 327-330.
  • Noble, G. K., and Marshall, B. C. (1929). ''The breeding habits of two salamanders.'' American Museum Novitates, 347, 1-12.
  • Nyman, S., Wilkinson, R. F., and Hutcherson, J. E. (1993). ''Cannibalism and size relations in a cohort of larval ringed salamanders (Ambystoma annulatum).'' Journal of Herpetology, 27, 78-84.
  • Petranka, J. W. (1998). Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington and London.
  • Spotila, J. R., and Beumer, R. J. (1970). ''The breeding habits of the ringed salamander, Ambystoma annulatum (Cope), in northwestern Arkansas.'' American Midlands Naturalist, 84, 77-89.
  • Trapp, M. M. (1956). ''Range and natural history of the ringed salamander Ambystoma annulatum, Cope (Ambystomatidae), .'' Southwestern Naturalist, 1, 78-82.
  • Trapp, M. M. (1959). Studies on the Life History of Ambystoma annulatum Cope. Master's Thesis. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
  • Wilson, T. J. (1993). ''.'' Predation of Ringed Salamander Larvae, Ambystoma annulatum. Southwest Missouri State University, M.S. Thesis, Springfield.
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Geographic Range

Ambystoma annulatum has been mostly found in the vicinity of Hot Springs Arkansas and throughout most of the forested Ozark Plateau in Missouri (Bishop 1962, Johnson 1977). Small populations of ringed salamanders have been found in south western Illinois and eastern Oklahoma as well (Petranka 1998).

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

  • Bishop, S. 1962. Handbook of Salamanders. New York: Hafner Publishing Company.
  • Johnson, T. 1977. The Amphibians of Missouri. Lawrence: University of Kansas Publications.
  • Petranka, J. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Washington: Smithsonian Insitiution Press.
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endemic to a single nation

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)) Ozark Plateau and Ouachita Mountains of southern Missouri, eastern Oklahoma, and western Arkansas (Conant and Collins 1991).

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Adult ringed salamanders range in length from 140 to 180 mm (5 1/2 to 7 inches). The record length is 255 mm (9 1/2 inches). Ambystoma annulatum has a slender well-rounded body with a small elongated head and a long tail. They have depressed snouts that are evenly and bluntly rounded. A. annulatum has about 15 costal grooves and 5 toes on the hind feet. They also have "vomerine teeth in two short series entirely between the inner nares, each series consisting of three rows of about 7 - 11 small blunt teeth" (Bishop 1962).

This is a striking salamander that is a dark blackish brown color with light cross bands and spots that are a buff - yellow color. There is some variation in the intensity of the markings. The belly is a pale grayish white. Usually, there is a short, light colored bar between the eyes. Someimes this continues below the eyes, pointing backwards diagnally. Looking from the top, the tail and body can appear to be completely ringed, hence the name "ringed" salamander. Interestingly enough, the rings never completely go around the body. Males and females are monomorphic and no textual evidence has been found if geographic or seasonal variation within the species exists.

The larvae of ringed salamanders are an average of 48 mm in length. They have well developed legs and toes and have a dorsal fin that extends to the head. Dorsally and on the lower sides there is uniform coloration. On the sides there is a broad, definite band lacking pigmentation from the gills to two-thirds down the tail. Juveniles get their yellow coloration after metamorphosis, and form their adult patterns within two months

(Bishop 1962, Johnson 1977, Petranka 1998).

Range length: 140 to 255 mm.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

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Size

Length: 24 cm

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Type Information

Holotype for Ambystoma annulatum
Catalog Number: USNM 11564
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Locality: No Locality Data
  • Holotype: Cope, E. D. 1886. Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 23: 525.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It is found in forested areas in vicinity of breeding pools, usually under objects or underground. Lays eggs on submerged plant material or on bottom of shallow ponds or temporary pools. Some eggs may survive temporary periods without standing water (Hutcherson et al. 1989).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Ambystoma annulatum prefers damp hardwood forests that are near shallow ponds (Bishop 1962). These salamanders are usually found hidden under rocks and logs, in piles of dead leaves, or burrowing in the soil; most of the year is spent below the surface of the ground (Bishop 1962, Johnson 1977).

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest

Aquatic Biomes: lakes and ponds; temporary pools

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Comments: Found in forested areas in vicinity of breeding pools; usually under objects or underground. Lays eggs on submerged plant material or on bottom of shallow ponds or temporary pools. Some eggs may survive temporary periods without standing water (Hutcherson et al. 1989).

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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Migrates up to several hundred meters between breeding and nonbreeding habitats.

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Ambystoma annulatum is carnivorous, eating mostly earthworms, insects, land snails, and other invertebrates (Johnson 1977). Cannibalism has been observed in this species in both the field and the laboratory (Petranka 1998). Larvae of A. annulatum eat ostracods, hemipterans, and dragonfly and damselfly nymphs (Petranka 1998).

Animal Foods: amphibians; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; mollusks; terrestrial worms; aquatic or marine worms

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore , Vermivore)

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Comments: In Missouri, cladocerans and copepods were major fall foods of larvae; dipteran larvae were predominant in winter and spring; other food items included ostracods, hemipterans, snails, and odonate nymphs (Hutcherson et al. 1989). Cladocerans and copepods have been recorded as important also in March-April (see Hutcherson et al. 1989). Some large larvae prey on smaller conspecific larvae (J. Herpetol. 27:78-84). Adult diet is not well documented; stomachs of collected individuals often are empty.

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Ringed salamanders are important predators of small invertebrates in the ecosystems in which they live. Some animals may depend on the dense aggregations of salamander eggs during the breeding season.

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Predation

Predators of ringed salamanders include owls, snakes, shrews, skunks, raccoons, opossums, and other mammals (Petranka 1998). When these salamanders are being attacked or feel threatened they will coil their bodies while tucking their heads underneath the base of their tales for protection (Petranka 1998).

Known Predators:

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Known predators

Ambystoma annulatum is prey of:
Strigiformes
Serpentes
Soricidae
Didelphis virginiana
Procyon lotor
Mephitinae

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Known prey organisms

Ambystoma annulatum preys on:
aquatic or marine worms
Annelida
Mollusca
Arthropoda
Insecta
Amphibia

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300

Comments: Many occurrences.

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Global Abundance

100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but likely greatly exceeds 100,000. Briggler et al. (2004) estimated that in a single year nearly 10,000 adults bred in a single small pond in Arkansas.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

Ringed salamanders may communicate mainly through chemical and tactile cues during the breeding season.

Communication Channels: tactile ; chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; chemical

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Cyclicity

Comments: Adults are seldom seen except during the breeding period.

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Longevity in ringed salamanders is unknown. Some other salamander species may live up to 10 years.

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Reproduction

Eggs are fertilized internally via spermatophores and the eggs are deposited in shallow, fishless water in the fall, mostly in October (Petranka 1998). Courtship occurs in shallow water as well (Johnson 1977).

They reproduce at night in breeding ponds where hundreds of them congregate. Usually the males are found at the breeding ponds first, and are distinguishable from the females by their swollen cloacas (Bishop 1962). Males will usually approach females. They start off by nudging the female's cloaca, and then swim off a short distance and deposit a few spermatophores (Petranka 1998). A male may deposit nine spermataphores in two minutes (Petranka 1998). The more males that come into the breeding area, the less specific males get when depositing spermatophores, nudging both males and females before deposition (Petranka 1998). Males deposit spermatophores on rocks, on other spermatophores, and even on other individuals. At this time females are generally passive and do not pick up seminal fluid while they are actively being courted by males (Petranka 1998). Breeding lasts a few days, after which the salamanders begin to move away from the ponds (Bishop 1962).

Mating System: polygynous

Ringed salamanders reproduce in shallow water. Breeding takes place in the fall between September and November (Bishop 1962). Cool temperatures and heavy rains stimulate breeding. Females begin ovipositing within 1 - 2 days after breeding. These salamanders are usually sexually mature 2 - 3 years after metamorphosis (Petranka 1998). Eggs are laid in clusters with an average of 10 eggs in a cluster (Bishop 1962). Usually, about 150 eggs are laid in total and are sometimes attached to vegetation but are usually laid directly on the bottom of ponds (Bishop 1962). The embryonic period of A. annulatum is fairly short. Premature pond freezing and drying are the biggest risks to the embryos and larvae (Petranka 1998). A. annulatum is an explosive breeder, and at times breeding males will try to reproduce 2 - 4 times during the breeding season (Petranka 1998).

Breeding interval: Breeding occurs once yearly.

Breeding season: Breeding occurs during the fall, between September and November.

Average number of offspring: 150.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 to 3 years.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 to 3 years.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); oviparous

Aside from provisioning eggs before fertilization there is no parental care.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement

  • Bishop, S. 1962. Handbook of Salamanders. New York: Hafner Publishing Company.
  • Johnson, T. 1977. The Amphibians of Missouri. Lawrence: University of Kansas Publications.
  • Petranka, J. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Washington: Smithsonian Insitiution Press.
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Brief breeding period occurs after heavy late summer to early fall rains, September-November in Missouri; also recorded in winter in Arkansas (Trauth et al. 1989). Lays small loose clusters of up to about 50 eggs; each female may lay several clusters of eggs, for a total of a few hundred eggs. Eggs hatch in about 2-4 weeks. Larval period lasts 6-8.5 months; metamorphosis occurs in mid-April (Peterson et al. 1991) or May to early July, depending on conditions (mostly in May). Several hundred (Peterson et al. 1992) or several thousand (Briggler et al. 2004) adults may breed in a single pond.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ambystoma annulatum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2004

Assessor/s
Geoffrey Hammerson

Reviewer/s
Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
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Ringed salamanders are an increasingly rare (and probably endangered) animal, most likely because of their restricted range and specific breeding requirements (Petranka 1998). The breeding habitats for these creatures should be protected whenever possible.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.

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Population

Population
Total adult population size is unknown but probably exceeds 10,000. It appears to be stable.

Population Trend
Stable
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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable to decline of 30%

Global Long Term Trend: Relatively stable to decline of 50%

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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

This species is secretive and fossorial and is generally not seen except on rainy autumn nights during breeding season. Breeding has been observed by a number of authors (Noble and Marshall 1929; Trapp 1956, 1959; Spotila and Beumer 1970; Hutcherson et al. 1989). Ambystoma annulatum breeds in shallow, fishless water (permanent or temporary ponds) and exhibits a preference for muddy or murky bodies of water. Adults migrate to breeding areas after the first heavy rains of the autumn breeding season (mid-September through November, most commonly in October, though the exact times vary depending on the local habitat). Cool temperatures and heavy rainfall stimulate breeding. This species is an explosive breeder and breeding males may try to reproduce 2-4 times in a season (Petranka 1998).

Breeding occurs at night in breeding ponds, where hundreds of individuals congregate. The males usually arrive first, and can be distinguished from the females by their swollen cloacae (Bishop 1962). Males usually approach the females in shallow water and engage in courtship by nudging the female’s cloaca (Johnson 1977). They then deposit a spermatophore a few centimeters away; a male may deposit nine spermatophores in two minutes. The male may repeat this process several times; however, the female will pick up the spermatophore only after being actively courted. The more males in the pond, the less specifically they court, and they will nudge both males and females before depositing a spermatophore (Petranka 1998). Males deposit spermatophores on rocks, other spermatophores, and even each other. After breeding, the salamanders begin to move away from the pond (Bishop 1962).

Fertilization is internal (Petranka 1998). A day or two after mating (24-48 hours), the female deposits between 5 and 40 eggs (mean of 10), in strings or small masses (Petranka 1998). Generally she lays the egg mass (usually about 150 eggs total) directly on the pond bottom, but she may attach them to submerged vegetation (Petranka 1998). Females may distribute the clutch in several egg masses, resorb some ova, or lay only a portion of the clutch on any given night, since Hutcherson et al. (1989) found that females in captivity had considerably more ovarian eggs than were counted in oviposited masses examined by Trapp (1959). In Missouri, permanent ponds used for breeding had a bottom substrate consisting of a thick layer of leaf litter and manure (Hutcherson et al. 1989). Eggs measure approximately 2 mm in diameter and hatch after 9-16 days (a relatively short embryonic period), again depending on the exact location (Petranka 1998). Eggs can survive temporary dry periods out of the water, with Hutcherson et al. (1989) reporting that eggs were deposited in one pond even though there was no standing water; those deposited within mud cracks or under partial shade from vegetation survived for 14-19 days until the pond refilled and hatching could occur. To get an idea of the maximum survival period out of water, Hutcherson et al. (1989) collected 879 embryos from the pond basin and incubated them at 17°C on moist soil under moist paper towels for 52 days. Twenty embryos survived and all hatched within five minutes of being submerged in water after 52 days out of water.

Mature aquatic larvae are on average 48 mm in length, and have well-developed legs, toes, and a dorsal fin that extends to the head (Petranka 1998). They typically begin metamorphosis the following February through May (Petranka 1998), although Hutcherson et al. (1989) observed larvae leaving one of their Missouri study ponds during June and early July. Newly metamorphosed juveniles measure approximately 34-40 mm in length and soon begin to crawl onto land in search of underground abodes, particularly on rainy days (Hutcherson et al. 1989). Sexual maturity is attained in the second or third year of life (Petranka 1998).

As an adult, this carnivore preys mostly on earthworms, insects, and land snails (Johnson 1977). Hutcherson et al. (1989) found that only 3 of 16 females examined had food in the stomach, and were unable to identify the contents. Trapp (1959) found that only 3 of 23 salamanders had prey items in the stomach (one with unidentifiable stomach contents, two containing earthworms).

Newly transformed salamanders mostly had empty stomachs (24 of 30) when examined by Hutcherson et al. (1989), but some (6 of 30) had fly larvae in the stomach.

Larvae eat a variety of prey, with Hutcherson et al. (1989) finding cladocerans and copepods the main components of the larval diet in autumn, dipteran larvae during winter and spring, and other occasional larval prey items including ostracods, dragonfly and damselfly nymphs, hemipterans and snails. In contrast, Trapp (1959) found that cladocerans and copepods comprised the bulk of the diet in spring (March and April), with minor components including molluscs, eggs, and Chironomus; Trapp (1959) also concluded that cladocerans and copepods were consumed preferentially, based on an analysis of food item abundance in water samples. Larval cannibalism has also been observed, both in the wild and the lab (Hutcherson et al. 1989; Nyman et al. 1993).

Natural predators of adults include owls, snakes, shrews, skunks, raccoons, opossums, and other mammals. When attacked or feeling threatened, A. annulatum coils its body while tucking the head underneath the base of the tail for protection (Petranka 1998).

Young larvae are preyed on by newts (Notophthalmus viridescens louisianensis, among other species) but larger ringed salamander larvae became too big for the Notophthalmus to consume at about a month prior to larval metamorphosis (Wilson 1993). In laboratory experiments comparing larval ringed salamander responses to predator (newt) vs non-predator (tadpole) chemical stimuli, larval Ambystoma annulatum were able to distinguish chemical signals of predatory newts and smaller larvae subsequently decreased activity. Other predators of ringed salamander larvae include aquatic insects, other aquatic salamanders, wading birds, and snakes (Mathis et al. 2003).

Ringed salamanders can harbor a variety of endoparasites. McAllister et al. (1995) found that 83% of the salamanders in their sample (n=41) carried at least one parasite species. Endoparasites included ascarid (Cosmocercoides variabilis, in the rectum and feces), spirurid (species unknown, encysted in the stomach wall) and rhabditid nematodes (Rhabdias ranae, in the lungs and body cavity), and a myxosporean protozoan, Myxidium serotinum (in the gall bladder).

  • Behler, J.L. and King, F.W. (1996). National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Knopf, New York, NY.
  • Beltz, E. (2002). ''Names of the reptiles and amphibians of North America.'' Original Description Citations for the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America.
  • Bishop, S.C. (1962). Handbook of Salamanders. Hafner, New York, NY.
  • Hutcherson, J. E., Peterson, C. L. and Wilkinson, R. F. (1989). ''Reproductive and larval biology of Ambystoma annulatum.'' Journal of Herpetology, 23, 181-183.
  • Johnson, T.R. (1977). The Amphibians of Missouri. University of Kansas Publications, Lawrence, KS.
  • Mathis, A., Murray, K. L., and Hickman, C. R. (2003). ''Do experience and body size play a role in responses of larval ringed salamanders, Ambystoma annulatum, to predator kairomones? Laboratory and field assays .'' Ethology, 109, 159-170.
  • McAllister, C. T., Trauth, S. E., and Cochran, B. G. (1995). ''Endoparasites of the ringed salamander, Ambystoma annulatum (Caudata: Ambystomatidae), from Arkansas.'' The Southwestern Naturalist, 40, 327-330.
  • Noble, G. K., and Marshall, B. C. (1929). ''The breeding habits of two salamanders.'' American Museum Novitates, 347, 1-12.
  • Nyman, S., Wilkinson, R. F., and Hutcherson, J. E. (1993). ''Cannibalism and size relations in a cohort of larval ringed salamanders (Ambystoma annulatum).'' Journal of Herpetology, 27, 78-84.
  • Petranka, J. W. (1998). Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington and London.
  • Spotila, J. R., and Beumer, R. J. (1970). ''The breeding habits of the ringed salamander, Ambystoma annulatum (Cope), in northwestern Arkansas.'' American Midlands Naturalist, 84, 77-89.
  • Trapp, M. M. (1956). ''Range and natural history of the ringed salamander Ambystoma annulatum, Cope (Ambystomatidae), .'' Southwestern Naturalist, 1, 78-82.
  • Trapp, M. M. (1959). Studies on the Life History of Ambystoma annulatum Cope. Master's Thesis. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
  • Wilson, T. J. (1993). ''.'' Predation of Ringed Salamander Larvae, Ambystoma annulatum. Southwest Missouri State University, M.S. Thesis, Springfield.
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Threats

Major Threats
Threats include: draining or filling of breeding ponds; introduction of predatory fishes in conjunction with deepening of breeding ponds; loss and degradation of forest habitat surrounding breeding ponds. However, the species is apparently secure in a major portion of its range and because major threats tend to be localized occurrences, significant population declines have not been reported.
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Degree of Threat: Medium

Comments: Threats include: draining or filling of breeding ponds; introduction of predatory fishes in conjunction with deepening of breeding ponds; loss and degradation of forest habitat surrounding breeding ponds.

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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Although Petranka (1998) thought that this salamander was becoming increasingly rare and perhaps endangered, a more recent assessment by Hammerson (2004) concluded that the population was stable and probably exceeded 10,000 in number, putting the species at Least Concern. Threats include loss of forest habitat surrounding breeding ponds; draining or filling of breeding ponds; and the introduction of predatory fish into breeding ponds.

  • Behler, J.L. and King, F.W. (1996). National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Knopf, New York, NY.
  • Beltz, E. (2002). ''Names of the reptiles and amphibians of North America.'' Original Description Citations for the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America.
  • Bishop, S.C. (1962). Handbook of Salamanders. Hafner, New York, NY.
  • Hutcherson, J. E., Peterson, C. L. and Wilkinson, R. F. (1989). ''Reproductive and larval biology of Ambystoma annulatum.'' Journal of Herpetology, 23, 181-183.
  • Johnson, T.R. (1977). The Amphibians of Missouri. University of Kansas Publications, Lawrence, KS.
  • Mathis, A., Murray, K. L., and Hickman, C. R. (2003). ''Do experience and body size play a role in responses of larval ringed salamanders, Ambystoma annulatum, to predator kairomones? Laboratory and field assays .'' Ethology, 109, 159-170.
  • McAllister, C. T., Trauth, S. E., and Cochran, B. G. (1995). ''Endoparasites of the ringed salamander, Ambystoma annulatum (Caudata: Ambystomatidae), from Arkansas.'' The Southwestern Naturalist, 40, 327-330.
  • Noble, G. K., and Marshall, B. C. (1929). ''The breeding habits of two salamanders.'' American Museum Novitates, 347, 1-12.
  • Nyman, S., Wilkinson, R. F., and Hutcherson, J. E. (1993). ''Cannibalism and size relations in a cohort of larval ringed salamanders (Ambystoma annulatum).'' Journal of Herpetology, 27, 78-84.
  • Petranka, J. W. (1998). Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington and London.
  • Spotila, J. R., and Beumer, R. J. (1970). ''The breeding habits of the ringed salamander, Ambystoma annulatum (Cope), in northwestern Arkansas.'' American Midlands Naturalist, 84, 77-89.
  • Trapp, M. M. (1956). ''Range and natural history of the ringed salamander Ambystoma annulatum, Cope (Ambystomatidae), .'' Southwestern Naturalist, 1, 78-82.
  • Trapp, M. M. (1959). Studies on the Life History of Ambystoma annulatum Cope. Master's Thesis. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
  • Wilson, T. J. (1993). ''.'' Predation of Ringed Salamander Larvae, Ambystoma annulatum. Southwest Missouri State University, M.S. Thesis, Springfield.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Wetlands protection is needed.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no negative impacts of ringed salamanders.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Ringed salamanders are not economically important to humans, but are of interest to scientists and to nature-oriented tourists. It is a specialized species, unique to its Ozark habitat. Because of their docility and striking appearance, they might be useful in environmental education programs (Petranka 1998).

Positive Impacts: ecotourism

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Wikipedia

Ringed salamander

The ringed salamander (Ambystoma annulatum) is native to hardwood and mixed hardwood-pine forested areas in and around the Ozark Plateau and Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.[1] Most specimens are found in the vicinity of Hot Springs, Arkansas, and the Missouri portion of the Ozark Plateau.[2][3] Small populations have also been found in western Illinois and eastern Oklahoma.[1]

It is found in damp, forested areas, usually under leaves, rotting logs, or in abandoned ground holes of other organisms, near shallow ponds. Highly fossorial (adapted to digging), adults are often found in subterranean refuges.[1] This salamander is increasingly rare and perhaps endangered, likely a result of its restricted range and specific breeding habit needs.[1] The world population is thought to be around 100,000 animals. Its conservation status is assessed as Lower Risk - Least Concern by the IUCN.[4]

References [edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Petranka, James W. (2010). Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. ISBN 9781588343086. 
  2. ^ Bishop, Sherman C. (1962). Handbook of Salamanders. New York: Hafner Publishing Company. 
  3. ^ T., T. (1977). The Amphibians of Missouri. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Publications. 
  4. ^ Hammerson (2004). Ambystoma annulatum. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Phillips et al. (2000) documented a lack of mtDNA variation in the northern Ozark populations of this salamander. They attributed this to recent (post-Hypsithermal) colonization of the area from the south.

See Kraus (1988), Shaffer et al. (1991), and Jones et al. (1993) for phylogenetic analyses of North American Ambystoma.

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