Flatwoods salamanders are moderately-sized salamanders
that are generally black to chocolate-black with fine, irregular,
light gray lines and specks that form a cross-banded pattern
across their backs. Adults are terrestrial and live underground
most of the year. They breed in relatively small, isolated
ephemeral ponds where the larvae develop until metamorphosis.
Mature salamanders migrate out of the ponds and into uplands
where they live until they move back to ponds to breed as
Flatwoods salamanders are endemic to the lower Gulf and
Atlantic coastal plains where they occur in what were historically
longleaf pine-wiregrass flatwoods and savannas. Their habitat
has been reduced to less than 20 percent of its original
extent. Surviving populations of flatwoods salamanders are
small, localized, and highly vulnerable to habitat destruction,
deterioration, and fragmentation.
The flatwoods salamander was listed as threatened under
the Endangered Species Act in 1999. A recent study split
the flatwoods salamander into two species - the frosted
flatwoods salamander (Ambystoma cingulatum) and the reticulated flatwoods salamander (Ambystoma bishopi).
The Service has determined that endangered status is warranted
for the reticulated flatwoods salamander. The frosted flatwoods
salamander will retain threatened status.