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Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum)

Marbled SalamanderNH Conservation Status: Endangered, Wildlife Action Plan Species in Greatest Need of Conservation.


State Rank Status: Critically imperiled.


Distribution: A few records of the species occur in Southern NH along the Massachusetts border.


Description: A small, stout-bodied salamander measuring 3-4.5 inches with distinct light crossbands across a dark back. The bands are variable in size and shape and may be incomplete.


Commonly Confused Species: Adults are easily distinguished from other species; larvae are easily confused with spotted, blue-spotted, and Jefferson salamanders.


Habitat: Various wooded habitats from floodplain forests to dry rocky slopes. During summer found under cover objects or underground.


Life History: Eggs are laid under surface litter during fall on the edges of ponds or in dry pool basins on the forest floor. The eggs hatch after the depressions are filled with fall rains. Females guard the nest until the eggs are inundated by water.


Conservation Threats: Upland and vernal pool habitat loss; loss of landscape connections between populations.


Distribution map: View a map showing the towns where this species is reported to occur in NH PDF Document



Marbled Salamander

Newly transformed marbled salamander about to make its migration into surrounding terrestrial habitat. ©Mike Marchand photo

Marbled Salamander This young marbled salamander is beginning to show the light colored crossbands across its back. ©Mike Marchand photo

Marbled Salamander Adult marbled salamanders are dark stout salamanders with gray crossbands. Crossbands may be complete or incomplete. Marbled salamanders are endangered in New Hampshire and collecting or disturbing them is illegal. If you encounter one, please take a photograph and submit it with location information to the Nongame & Endangered Species Program at the NHFG Department. ©Lloyd Gamble photo

Marbled SalamanderLarval marbled salamanders are difficult to distinguish from other Ambystoma salamanders of NH (spotted, blue-spotted, and Jefferson salamanders). However, because marbled salamanders are the only fall breeder, larvae encountered in vernal pool habitats in winter or early spring (February-April) prior to other salamanders breeding are likely to be marbled salamanders. ©Mike Marchand photo


Marbled Salamander

Adult Marbled Salamander.

©USGS/John D. Willson photo