Herpetofauna: One Life's List

Ambystoma opacum
Marbled Salamander

Johnson Co., Illinois
May 2, 1997

They are not as brightly colored as a Cave or Longtailed Salamander, yet opacum is to my mind one of the most beautiful of all salamanders. The females are marked light grey and black, while males are usually white and black.  Females are usually larger than males.

There is a certain place, a jumble of rocks on the side of a trail, where it's usually no trouble to find a Marbled Salamander or two, even during the dry summer months.  Apparently a bit of moisture is enough to hold them near the surface, unlike Spotted and Tiger Salamanders which disappear into the ground after the spring rains cease.

Rather than migrate to vernal pools to breed like many other ambystomids, Marbled Salamanders deposit eggs in low spots during the fall. The female guards them until the rains of October and November cover the eggs with water, which makes them hatch.








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