Long-toed Salamander / Salamandre à longs doigts
A distinctive yellow stripe runs down the back and tail of the Long-toed Salamander.
Sometimes the stripe is not continuous but made up of a series of blotches. The
background colour is dark greenish-gray to black. Long-toed Salamanders can grow to
8-12 cm in total length, with the tail making up half of that length.
No other mole salamander in western Canada has a bright stripe down its back. Two
species of lungless salamanders
also have stripes: the Coeur d'Alene
Salamander, with a yellowish stripe, and the
Western Red-backed Salamander, which has a red or orange stripe. Both of these
salamanders are much more slender than the Long-toed Salamander.
There are three subspecies of the Long-toed Salamander in British Columbia, one of
which also occurs in the foothills of Alberta. To the south it is found only as far as
- A. m. macrodactylum,
the Western Long-toed Salamander is confined to Vancouver Island and the southwest
corner of mainland British Columbia.
- A. m. columbianum, the Eastern
Long-toed Salamander, is widespread throughout the mainland.
- A. m. krausei, the Northern Long-toed
Salamander, occurs in eastern British Columbian and western Alberta.
Long-toed Salamanders are found from arid sagebrush communities to moist evergreen
forests and alpine meadows. They occur from sea level to over 2000 m. Breeding ponds
tend to be permanent ponds without fish.
Breeding occurs in early spring, often while there is still ice on the ponds. Females
lay their eggs either singly or in clumps on vegetation. Within a month the eggs hatch,
but the larvae generally overwinter before transforming. It takes the salamanders two
to three years to reach maturity.
Long-toed Salamanders tend to live under rocks or rotting logs near ponds, however some
salamanders have been found up to a kilometer from their breeding pond. They feed on
insects and other invertebrates.
There is no evidence of decline in this species.