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Canadian Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network - Réseau Canadien de 
Conservation des Amphibiens et des Reptiles

Ambystoma texanum
Small-mouthed Salamander / Salamandre é nez court

Small-mouthed Salamander
© Brian Miller

The Small-mouthed Salamander is dark brown to black on top with gray to grayish yellow patches. It has a black belly and can grow to over 15 cm in total length, including the long tail.

Confusing Species
The mottled appearance of this species is somewhat similar to the related Jefferson Salamander Complex but the Small-mouthed Salamander lacks the bluish flecks.

The Small-mouthed Salamander has the most restricted distribution of any salamander in Canada. It is found only on Pelee Island in extreme southern Ontario. Outside of Canada, the Small-mouthed Salamander is found in a diagonal swath from Lake Erie to Texas, excluding the east coast states.

This salamander is found in a variety of habitat types ranging from deciduous bottomlands to moist pine forests. It can sometimes be found near temporary ponds or along streams.

Breeding occurs in the early spring in streams, ponds and even ditches. One female can lay up to 700 eggs, either attached to vegetation or on the underside of rocks. The larvae hatch at just over 1 cm in length and transform into salamanders by mid-summer. Where their distributions overlap, Small-mouthed Salamanders sometimes interbreed with the Spotted Salamanders. The young produced are fertile.

Natural History
Outside of the breeding season, adults are terrestrial, often living underground. Salamanders are carnivores eating a large variety of insects and other invertebrates such as spiders and worms. When threatened the Small-mouthed Salamander will raise and wave its tail. This may attract the predator to the tail rather than the rest of the animal.

Conservation Concerns
The Small-mouthed Salamander is a southern species and in Canada is restricted to Pelee Island. On the island it has declined as a rsult of habitat loss and degradation and it has been designated Endangered by COSEWIC.