Panama City Field Office
Conserving the Nature of America


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Flatwoods salamander
  Flatwoods salamander
Photos by FWS



Flatwoods Salamander



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 adults.

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.

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Last updated: April 17, 2018