Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Lynn Chamberlain
Photo Copyright Lynn Chamberlain

The tiger salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum, is found in many areas of North America, and it is a common species throughout Utah. Within its range, the tiger salamander can thrive in almost any habitat type, as long as water is found nearby. Water is necessary for two reasons: 1) the larval stage of the salamander life cycle is aquatic, and 2) the terrestrial adults return to water to breed. Interestingly, the tiger salamander is the only salamander species which occurs in Utah.

Although most tiger salamanders are black with whitish markings, the coloration of tiger salamanders varies greatly from individual to individual and from location to location. This salamander breeds in the spring, often after rains. Each female may lay 1,000 eggs, which typically hatch in two to five weeks. Both adult and larval salamanders eat small animals, such as insects and the larvae of other amphibians. Due to predation, tiger salamanders often disappear from previously fishless areas once fish are introduced.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Stebbins, R. C. 1985. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 336 pp.