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What is a Barred Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma mavortium)

The Barred Tiger Salamander, with its striking patterns and robust build, is a fascinating amphibian. Its presence in various habitats makes it an important indicator species for environmental health.

Barred Tiger Salamander Overview

This salamander is one of the largest terrestrial salamanders, known for its distinctive dark bars or spots on an otherwise greenish-yellow to olive background. It plays a vital role in the ecosystems it inhabits.


  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Amphibia
  • Order: Caudata
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Genus: Ambystoma
  • Species: A. mavortium
Barred Tiger Salamander, Ambystoma mavortium, very large bright yellow and black salamander of North America

Size and Body Description

Barred Tiger Salamanders can reach lengths of up to 14 inches, making them one of the largest salamander species. They have a broad, stocky build with a large head and a long, stout tail.


Up to 14 inches (35.5 cm) in length.


Their diet includes insects, worms, small fish, and occasionally other small amphibians. They are opportunistic predators, often hunting at night.


They breed in water, where females lay eggs that are then fertilized externally by males. As amphibians, they do not engage in pollination.


They are found in a variety of habitats including forests, grasslands, and marshes throughout much of the United States, from Arizona to Nebraska.

Where Found

In their natural habitat, Barred Tiger Salamanders are often found in moist environments like under logs, rocks, or leaf litter. They are also known to inhabit burrows made by other animals.

How Long Do Barred Tiger Salamanders Live

In the wild, they can live for 10-15 years, and sometimes longer in captivity.


While not generally considered endangered, their populations can be impacted by habitat destruction and pollution. Conservation efforts focus on habitat preservation and pollution control.

The Barred Tiger Salamander is not only a symbol of the rich biodiversity of North American amphibians but also a vital part of the ecological balance in its habitats. Protecting these creatures helps preserve the health and diversity of ecosystems they inhabit.

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