July 9, 2020

CTNaturalist: The Marbled Salamander

In Connecticut, September marks the onset of the autumn season. The days begin to shorten and the first glimpses of fall are felt in the air and seen in the trees. Yet, as the thrust of summer wildlife draws to a close, a special amphibian is only now becoming active!

The marbled salamander arrives in dried up vernal pools during September and October. Males and females breed on dry land and females lay eggs on the surface of the soft, dry, leaf-beds of empty woodland pools. (See video below for full life cycle)

Females wait next to their eggs, guarding and protecting them from outside threats. When late autumn rains once again fill the pools with water, the female retreats back underground where she’ll remain for the remainder of the year.

The eggs hatch and larvae develop under the frozen ice of winter. When next spring arrives, they will be mature salamanders. Amazing to realize that cold-blooded amphibians are able to weather such harsh temperatures!

This September, don’t be disheartened as the frogs, toads, and other salamanders begin to become less visible. If you’re an amphibian lover, now is the time to discover the marbled salamander in Connecticut.

According to DEP records, marbled salamanders prefer habitats with an elevation between 900 ft – 1300 ft.  There are no records of marbled activity above 1300 ft.

Be on the lookout in upland, deciduous forests, near large glacial rock deposits. Marbled salamanders prefer higher elevations. There white and black color patterns are among the most beautiful in eastern forests.

Be on the lookout in your community this season for marbled salamanders!