Ambystoma mavortium Baird, 1850
Barred Tiger Salamander, Gray Barred Tiger Salamander, Blotched Tiger Salamander, Arizona Tiger Salamander, Sonora Tiger Salamander
Taxonomic Notes: This taxon is often considered a subspecies of A. tigrinum. We treat it as a full species, including taxa recognized by others as subspecies of A. tigrinum (except for A. tigrinum tigrinum).
© 2008 Frank Teigler (1 of 53)
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Canada, United States
U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming
Canadian province distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan
Habitat is diverse - it includes bottom land deciduous forests, coniferous forests and woodlands, open fields and bushy areas, alpine and subalpine meadow, grasslands, semideserts and deserts, and (rarely) in streams. Sandy or friable soils make for good breeding ground.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Trends and Threats
Relation to Humans
This species was featured as News of the Week on 26 December 2022:
The evolution of chemical alarm cues has been puzzling to evolutionary biologists. At first glance, the cues appear to only help other individuals, not the preyed-upon individual that produced and released the cues (the 'sender'). However, according to theory, the evolution of communication systems requires benefits to senders. Releasing alarm cues can benefit the sender’s genes by warning their nearby kin, but prey often do not associate based on kinship. There is some evidence that alarm cues can protect against certain parasites and pathogens. However, an alternative hypothesis is that alarm cues attract additional predators to an attack, thereby interfering with it, and allows the prey to escape. This is known as the 'Predator Attraction Hypothesis'. Previous studies on fishes have provided support for this hypothesis, but amphibians had not been tested before. Crane et al. (2022) used Tiger salamander (Ambystoma mavortium) larvae (predators) and Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica) tadpoles (prey) to test this hypothesis and found the predators were attracted to alarm cues. This was even more apparent when the salamanders had prior experience with tadpole prey. When two salamanders were present, they rushed their attacks and were less accurate than when alone. This increased the chances of escape for tadpoles. We also found that the mere presence of visual and chemical cues from a second salamander caused enough of a distraction to increase tadpole survival. All together, their results support the Predator Attraction Hypothesis for the evolution of chemical alarm cues in tadpoles. (Written by Adam Crane)
Harte, J., and Hoffman, E. (1989). ''Possible effects of acid deposition on a Rocky Mountain population of the tiger salamander Ambystoma tigrinum.'' Conservation Biology, 3, 9.
Irschick, D.J. and Shaffer, H.B. (1997). ''The polytypic species revisited: Morphological differentiation among tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) (Amphibia: Caudata).'' Herpetologica, 53(1), 30-49.
Petranka, J. W. (1998). Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. and London.
Originally submitted by: Brian Petirs (first posted 2001-10-30)
Edited by: Vance T. Vredenburg, Michelle S. Koo (2023-01-01)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2023 Ambystoma mavortium: Barred Tiger Salamander <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/5887> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 4, 2023.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 4 Jun 2023.
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