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Mole Salamanders but not tigers or axolotls (Ambystomatids) These large-mouthed, burrowing salamanders are indigenous to Central and North America.



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Old 19th June 2017   #1
(Bill B)
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Age: 47
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Rep: Bill B has started on the right path
Default Trying to ID a larva

This larva is from certain location in Michigan, USA. I think this area is in the range of only three species of Ambystoma. From the books I have, the only species I would expect to be there would be A. maculatum (Spotted), A. laterale (Blue-spotted), and A. tigrinum (Tiger). I do know Spotted Salamanders breed there as well, and a larva I collected summer 2012 I later realized after metamorphosis is a Spotted.

I have been looking online at photos of larvae on pages that labeled as Tiger Salamander, Spotted Salamander, and Blue-spotted Salamander. I think the larva I had years ago seemed dark slate gray to almost black, if I remember right. This one is very light colored, and almost consistent light color over the entire animal.

The photos I see of larvae I see online show Blue-spotted with light and dark spots, especially on the tail. The photos the Spotted seem light and dark as well, but each spot seems smaller. The ones of Tigers seem more consistently light across the entire body... and the one I have seems more like that.

I got a few photos of it in the aquarium it is now in. I wanted to get a good shot from the side but was really able to. Tried a little bit to get it with a net and put it in a smaller container, but the this is very unlike most tadpoles in that it almost always stays on the bottom of aquarium and that it completely stays still, alternating with moving around very unpredictably and I did not want to injure it (certainly if I get it to metamorphose, it will be far easier to ID!).

Only after writing that up did I realize I still have photos of the 2012 larva.. and now I am realizing that larva was not as dark as I remembered it to be.

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