Blue-spotted Salamander

Ambystoma laterale

This is the most common salamander found in Minnesota woodlands.


General description: It is identified by bluish spots or flecks on a black to gray-black body.

Size: About 3 to 5 inches long


Salamanders have jelly-coated eggs and aquatic larvae. Salamander larvae look very different from tadpoles. They have external gills (to breathe oxygen dissolved in water) and front legs even as very young larvae. Older larvae look similar to adults with the exception of their gills.

After three to four months, the larvae go through metamorphosis: They lose their gills, leave the pond, and start using their lungs to breathe. They will return to the ponds only to mate and lay their eggs. If they are lucky, they will repeat this cycle for 25 years.


They eat a variety of insects, earthworms, spiders and snails.

Blue-spotted salamander

Habitat and range

Although common in forested habitats, these small amphibians often go unnoticed because they spend much of their time under woody debris. As with most salamanders species, Blue-spotted salamanders cannot tolerate dry habitats. It breeds in temporary woodland ponds, which sometimes dry up before the larvae get a chance to metamorphose.

Blue-spotted salamander eggs are laid in small clusters.

Spotted salamander eggs are laid in small clusters.

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