Botched tiger salamander
Scientific name: Ambystoma tigrinum melanostictum
- The only salamander in Yellowstone.
- Adults range up to about 9 inches, including the tail.
- Head is broad, with a wide mouth.
- Color ranges from light olive or brown to nearly black, often with yellow blotches or streaks on back and sides; belly is dull lemon yellow with irregular black spots.
- Larvae, which are aquatic, have a uniform color and large feathery gills behind the head; they can reach sizes comparable to adults but are considerably heavier.
- Breeds in ponds and fishless lakes.
- Widespread in Yellowstone in a great variety of habitats, with sizable populations in Lamar Valley.
- Adult salamanders come out from hibernation in late April to June, depending on elevation and migrate to breeding ponds where they lay their eggs.
- Mass migrations of salamanders crossing roads are sometimes encountered, particularly during or after rain.
- After migration, salamanders return to their moist homes under rocks and logs and in burrows.
- Feed on adult insects, insect nymphs and larvae, small aquatic invertebrates, frogs, tadpoles, and even small vertebrates.
- Preyed upon by a wide variety of animals, including mammals, fish, snakes, and birds such as sandhill cranes and great blue herons.