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Larvae ID

This is a discussion on Larvae ID within the Species, Genus & Family Discussions forums, part of the Advanced Newt & Salamander Topics category; I found a whole bunch of larvae in a muddy puddle while on vacation in midcoast Maine. Hoping for help ...

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Old 5th July 2014   #1 (permalink)
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Default Larvae ID

I found a whole bunch of larvae in a muddy puddle while on vacation in midcoast Maine. Hoping for help with identification. They are very small, about 1" long with fully developed front legs with 4 toes and back limb buds. Olive brownish color with black speckling down the tail. Any ideas? I don't know the native species very well. They were in a silty ditch by the side of the road with some leaf litter, probably 150 of them. Here's a pic. Thanks!
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Old 5th July 2014   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Larvae ID

One more pic, from above.
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Old 6th July 2014   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Larvae ID

It's not so easy to identify larvae. Mostly figure out what exists in that location and go from there.



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Old 6th July 2014   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Larvae ID

My some what inexperienced opinion is that there yellow spotted salamander larvae (or another type of spotted salamander) I have raised yellow spotted salamanders before and that one looks pretty darn close.

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Old 6th July 2014   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Larvae ID

Did some homework, and it looks like my top contenders are:
1) spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)
2) blue spotted salamander (Ambystoma laterale)
3) eastern red spotted newt (Notophthalmus viridescens)
Any tips on differences between the three? Specifically developmental markers, like at what size they would have fully developed back legs, etc. Also approximate size and developmental status at this time of year would be useful. Leaning toward spotted salamander, as it seems the most common. The red spotted newt seems a bit too small, but I'm not sure how close these larvae are to metamorphosis.



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Old 6th July 2014   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Larvae ID

Yes, the red-spotted newt would have very small larvae, and they would have a black stripe across the eye. And they'd be unlikely to find in a mudpuddle. The other two would be difficult to distinguish at the larval stage. A. maculatum is most likely, simply because it's more common.



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Old 8th July 2014   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Larvae ID

Thanks for all the help! I'm going to try to morph out a couple and see what I get. I suspect the spotted salamander is the winner. They have hearty appetites and a strong prey drive. I'll update if I get a positive ID down the line. I'm already turning them into little fatties- hopefully that's a good sign. Here's an updated pic from tonight.
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Old 3rd August 2014   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Larvae ID

My little ones are morphing. Ambystoma maculatum confirmed!
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