AmphibiaWeb - Ambystoma jeffersonianum


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Ambystoma jeffersonianum (Green, 1827)
Jefferson Salamander
Subgenus: Xiphonura
family: Ambystomatidae
genus: Ambystoma
Species Description: Green, J. (1827). "An account of some new species of salamanders." Contributions of the Maclurian Lyceum to the Arts and Sciences 1: 3–8.
Ambystoma jeffersonianum
© 2011 Michael Graziano (1 of 55)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
NatureServe Use NatureServe Explorer to see status.
National Status None
Regional Status None
conservation needs Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .


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Ambystoma jeffersonianum is a long, slender salamander, ranging from 12.1 to 21 cm in length. Long digits and a wide snout help characterize this species. Bluish flecks often are scattered along the limbs and lower sides of the body, complementing the typical dark-brown or dark gray the species usually exhibits. The ventral stomach is lighter in color, usually gray.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Canada, United States

U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia

Canadian province distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Ontario

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View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
amphibiandisease logo View Bd and Bsal data (3 records).
This species is primarily located on the East Coast of the United States, ranging from west New England and southern New York to Virginia and Indiana. Typical habitats consist of swamps and ponds of the deciduous forest regions where A. jeffersonianum may often be found under debris.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
During breeding season, which lasts from March to April, adults characteristically migrate to ponds. Cylindrical masses of 10 - 15 eggs a piece are laid by the female, underwater, and attached to slender twigs. The hatching period will occur 30 - 45 days later where the larvae are typically 13 mm long. Transformation occurs from the months of July to September where 51 to 71 mm of growth are observed.

In the Ambystoma genus, there are unisexual populations that can hybridize with A. jeffersonianum, A. laterale, A. texanum, A. trigrinum, and A. barbouri to create ploidy-elevated offspring. They can range from diploid to pentaploid and there are over 20 different nuclear genomic combinations. Most Ambystoma unisexuals have an A. laterale nuclear genome, while the other types of donated genomes can replace each other, as seen in recent populations of A. barbouri being the replacement donor for A. jeffersonianum. Ambystoma unisexuals’ mtDNA is most similar to A. barbouri, however A. barbouri is the least common sperm donor. Tetraploid and pentaploid unisexuals tend to have a higher mortality rate than triploid unisexuals (Bogart et al. 2009).

The species epithet, "jeffersonianum," is a reference to Jefferson College (Tighe 2023).

Both Amblystoma platineum and Salamandra granulata have been synonymized with A. jeffersonianum (Tighe 2023).


Behler, J.L. and King, F.W. (1996). National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Knopf, New York, NY.

Bogart, JP, Bartoszek, J, Noble, DWA, Bi, K (2009). "Sex in unisexual salamanders: discovery of a new sperm donor with ancient affinities." Heredity, 103, 483-493. [link]

Tighe, K.A. (2023). Catalog of type specimens of recent Caudata and Gymnophiona in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 654.

Originally submitted by: Kevin Gin (first posted 2003-11-25)
Description by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2022-10-05)
Distribution by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2022-10-05)
Life history by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2022-10-05)
Comments by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2022-10-05)

Edited by: Vance T. Vredenburg (2023-08-11)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2023 Ambystoma jeffersonianum: Jefferson Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 17, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 17 Jun 2024.

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