The blue-spotted salamander (Ambystoma laterale) is a dark-bodied salamander measuring 3½ to 5 inches and speckled with blue or white flecks and spots across the back, side, and tail. They are most commonly found in moist hardwood forests and wooded swamps, marshes, and bogs. They hybridize with Jefferson salamanders. Threats to this species include development of upland habitat and associated edge effects, filling of wetlands for development, and mortality from vehicles on roadways. It is listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in all six states in BCR 14.

Habitat Needs

Blue-spotted salamanders use both upland and wetland habitats. They breed in fresh-water wetlands such as ephemeral and semi-permanent pools, vernal pools, swamps, ponds, marshes, ditches, and flooded sections of logging roads that hold water until late summer for enough time for larvae to metamorphose. In the uplands they prefer damp, deciduous, or mixed woodlands with moderate shade. They are also found in water-saturated loamy soil and damp crumbly sand and make use of cover such as rocks, rotting stumps or logs, moss, vegetative debris, small mammal burrows, woodpiles, and human debris.

Habitat Management Practices

  • Restrict motorized vehicles within 300 feet from vernal pools, potential vernal pools, swamps, and emergent wetlands.
  • Avoid disturbance to vernal pools year-round.
  • Reduce recreational trails and roads near wetlands.


Harding, J.H. 1997. Amphibians and reptiles of the Great Lakes region. The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor.

Klemens, M.W. 1993. Amphibians and reptiles of Connecticut and adjacent regions. Bull. 112. Hartford: Connecticut State Geological and Natural History Survey.

Valliere, L. 2015. Blue-Spotted/Jefferson Salamander Complex. Pages A2-A15 in the New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan, NH Fish & Game Department, Concord, NH.

Additional Information