Table of contents:
- The size
- Food / nutrition
- Social structure
- Season / period of breeding
- Incubation of eggs
- Benefit / harm to humans
- Population / conservation status
Video: Short-headed Ambistoma (Ambystoma Texanum)
2023 Author: Molly Page | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 22:49
The Texas salamander, or short-headed ambistoma, lives in North America. They prefer wet places - river floodplains, fallen and decaying trees near water bodies and marshes, or fallen leaves. Uses burrows dug by other animals. In response to an attack by a predator, adult amphibians assume a defensive position. Leads a nocturnal lifestyle, hiding in shelters during the day. It eats various invertebrates. Reproduction takes place under water. Oviparous.
North America - from the northeastern west of Ohio to Missouri and eastern Nebraska. The north of the range is southeastern Michigan; the south of the range passes through western Kentucky and Tennessee to the Gulf of Mexico.
The body of the Texas ambistoma is large, stocky; the tail is long, rounded in cross section; the mouth is small, 2-3 rows of palatine teeth are located transversely - one behind the other; the head is small, wide with a blunt short muzzle; the lower jaw protrudes slightly forward. The eyes are small with movable eyelids. The limbs are thin. The front legs have four short toes, the hind legs have five. Costal grooves 14-16.
The skin is smooth. The diploid number of chromosomes is 28. Males are smaller in size than females, their tails are more compressed from the sides.
Coloring from black or pale gray with light (gray or silver) spots on the back and sides, the belly is dark. During the breeding season, ambistomas become faded.
The larvae have light stripes on an olive green or dark brown background. Before metamorphosis, light stripes are replaced by dark spots. In general, the coloration of short-headed ambistas strongly depends on their habitats.
Grow up to 10-18 cm.
Ambistomas prefer wet places - river floodplains, fallen and decaying trees near water bodies and swamps or fallen leaves, agricultural land (near water), as well as meadows and prairies (near water bodies). Adult amphibians can sometimes be spotted on rocky slopes.
They use holes dug by other animals, incl. crayfish and small mammals. Evening rain sometimes prompts them to come to the surface.
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Predatory aquatic insects, tiger salamander larvae, garters (Thamnophis) and American water snakes (Nerodia).
Food / nutrition
Adult short-headed ambistomas eat insects, slugs, millipedes, earthworms, butterflies and spiders. The larvae are versatile predators, they eat small aquatic invertebrates, including daphnia, isopods, crustaceans, as well as larvae of other amphibians and their own species.
In response to the attack of a predator, adult amphibians take a defensive position: they lower their heads, wriggle their bodies, raise and wave their tail (there are several glands on the tail that secrete a caustic substance).
The Texas salamander is nocturnal, hiding in shelters during the day. During the breeding season, amphibians may congregate in small groups around water bodies. Adults in burrows wait out the hottest months of the year.
Amphibians lead a secluded and secretive lifestyle, not territorial.
Short-headed ambistomas are oviparous, fertilization is internal. Eggs in separate bags are deposited by the female in stagnant or slowly flowing water bodies (temporary forest water bodies, roadside ditches, flooded areas, river swamps, etc.). The larvae are aquatic, in proportions and constitution, they are similar to adults.
Adult salamanders migrate to water bodies (without fish) in the dark or in rainy weather, where they lay eggs. Adolescents undergo post-metamorphic migrations.
Reproduction takes place under water. Males push females, rub against them, and then deposit spermatophores in the water (on branches or foliage). One male can deposit up to 128 spermatophores! Females take spermatophores into themselves (up to 26 spermatophores from different males), and then lay eggs in shallow water and usually attach them to branches and vegetation underwater. There is no amplexus.
Females lay eggs singly or in groups. In a year, one female can produce up to 300-700 eggs (1.6-2.5 mm in diameter), which she lays in small gelatinous masses of 3-30 eggs.
Season / period of breeding
Falls from January-February to April-March.
Puberty: short-headed ambistomas reach sexual maturity at a height of 6-7 cm (presumably in the second year of life).
Incubation of eggs
Lasts 3-8 weeks (depending on water temperature).
Newborn Texas salamander larvae are 7-14 mm long. The larvae have thick gills, dark brown spots on the back, a slightly noticeable strip stretches along the sides.
Young larvae feed on cladocerans, ostracods, insects and their larvae, having matured a little, the larvae move on to isopods and gastropods. The larvae feed every day (day and night). They stick to the surface of the water (under floating debris) or at the bottom of the reservoir.
Metamorphosis begins at the age of 2-3 months. at a size of 40-48 mm (from late May to July). Within a few weeks after metamorphosis, young short-headed ambistomas migrate to wet places. Adolescents are more likely to hide in fallen leaves than adults.
Benefit / harm to humans
Texas salamanders eat various pests of forests and agricultural plantations - slugs and worms. Serve as food for blue jays and other animals.
Population / conservation status
Short-headed ambistomas are numerous throughout the range. This is due to the fact that these amphibians are found in quite a variety of habitats. The main threat to the species is the loss of moist areas that are needed for reproduction.
On salamanders, many protozoa and helminths parasitize. Short-headed ambistomas can interbreed with other Ambystoma species.
Tiger ambistoma , or tiger salamander , or North American ambistoma (Ambystoma tigrinum) lives in North America everywhere: in deciduous and coniferous forests, alpine and subalpine meadows, fields, semi-deserts and deserts. Thanks to the pineal gland (pineal gland), they are perfectly oriented in space, the owner of excellent visual memory
The spotted blue ambistoma (Ambystoma laterale) gets its name from the bluish-blue or whitish spots on the tail, back, legs and belly. The pattern of spots is individual for each amphibian. Inhabits flat mature forests, abounding in damp and wetlands, next to open bodies of water
The marble ambistoma , or tape salamander, is endemic to North America. Inhabits various habitats: deciduous and mixed forests of foothill or coastal plains. Most of its life hides under rotten logs, stones, or fallen vegetation. The larvae feed on zooplankton, while the adults prey on a variety of slow invertebrates
The tiger ambistoma is not interesting in keeping, as it is active at night, digs holes. May not leave its burrow for several weeks. You will need an aquarium whose walls, in addition to the front, are painted black. A mixture of compost, peat and humus is used as a substrate, and a layer of sphagnum moss is laid on top
The Mexican ambistoma , or the Mexican salamander (Ambystoma mexicanum) is a land animal that looks like a large salamander. It lives on land, near water. During metamorphosis, the ambistoma loses its external gills and breathes with the help of the lungs and skin