E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Ambystoma macrodactylum Baird, 1849
Long-Toed Salamander
Family: Ambystomatidae
Photo of species

© Kristiina Ovaska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #2700)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Ambystoma macrodactylum in British Columbia
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Species Information


The Long-Toed Salamander is a wide-ranging species of mole salamander that is found in North America from southern Alaska through British Columbia (including the Rockies) south to Oregon and northern California (Matsuda et al. 2006). It is found at elevations ranging from sea level to more than 2400 m. where it occupies a variety of habitats, including "temperate rainforests, coniferous forests, montane riparian, sagebrush plains, red fir forest, semi-arid sagebrush, cheatgrass plains, to alpine meadows along the rocky shores of mountain lakes." (Wikipedia 2012). Matsuda et al. (2006) say: "it prefers damp areas in forests and meadows where there is ample opportunities to hide, generally not far from water".

The Long-toed Salamander is a dark grey or black salamander, lighter grey with speckles on the sides and belly, with a noticeable green or yellow stripe on the back that runs from the head to the tail and a noticeable long (fourth) toe on the hind foot (Matsuda et al. 2006).

AmpibiaWeb (2012) provides the following information about breeding: "In the Pacific Northwest, long-toed salamanders are the earliest breeding amphibians...often migrating across snow and depositing eggs before complete ice-out. In the Willamette Valley, Oregon, adults migrate to breeding ponds in late October to early November...and as late as June–July at higher elevations in the Cascades, Rockies, Sierra Nevada, and Wallowas...Males are the first to arrive at breeding ponds...probably to court arriving females... and compete with other males.... While females, as a group, spend approximately 3 wk at a breeding site ...depositing eggs over a 6–7 d period..."

According to Matsuda et al. (2006), five subspecies of the Long-toed Salamander are recognized, three of these are found in BC:

1) Ambystoma macrodactylum macrodactylum (Western Long-toed Salamander: lower Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island
2) Ambystoma macrodactylum krausei (Northern Long-toed Salamander): eastern BC, Rocky Mountains
3) Ambystoma macrodactylum columbianum (Eastern Long-toed Salamander): the rest of BC

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
COSEWIC
NativeS5YellowNAR (Apr 2006)
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

Species References

Matsuda, Brent M., David M. Green and Patrick T. Gregory. 2006. Amphibians and Reptiles of British Columbia. Royal BC Museum Handbook. Victoria.

General References


Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2021-12-04 12:32:14 AM]
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