Ambystoma texanum
(Matthes 1855)

ăm-bĭs-tō-mă — tĕx-ā-nŭm

An adult Small-mouthed Salamander from Cherokee County, Kansas. © 2018 Travis W. Taggart.
Head of an adult female Small-mouthed Salamander from Cherokee County, Kansas. © 2018 Travis W. Taggart.
An adult female from Jefferson County. Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.
An adult from Douglas County. Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.

They have a relatively small head and a blunt tail. Their dorsal background color is dark brown with whitish diffuse flecks on top that become more numerous along the sides. The belly is dark and unmarked (or with few light flecks). Fourteen or fewer vertical grooves on each side of body between front and hind limbs; Females have slightly more robust bodies than males, but males have proportionately longer tails than females. During breeding, females have heavier bodies and males have swollen cloacal lips.
Adults normally 100-140 mm (4-5½ inches) in TL; largest specimen from Kansas: female (KU 218583) from Douglas County with SVL of 92 mm and TL of 171 mm (6¾ inches) collected by Kevin R. Toal on 26 March 1991; maximum length throughout range: 7 inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

This salamander is found from the Loess Hills south through the Osage Plains, southern Flint Hills, eastern Red Hills Prairie, and east.

(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 593 Total Records 
  • 569 Museum Vouchers 
  • 24 Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Allen (2); Anderson (1); Bourbon (33); Butler (3); Chase (2); Chautauqua (1); Cherokee (10); Coffey (4); Cowley (2); Crawford (8); Doniphan (1); Douglas (360); Elk (3); Franklin (9); Greenwood (2); Harper (1); Jefferson (1); Johnson (4); Labette (35); Leavenworth (1); Linn (22); Lyon (3); Miami (36); Montgomery (8); Neosho (4); Osage (21); Sedgwick (2); Shawnee (4); Sumner (2); Unknown (3); Wilson (2); Woodson (2); Wyandotte (1);

Natural History:
Primarily inhabit forested bottomlands, adjacent prairies, and associated wetlands. They generally remain hidden in burrows or under cover of leaves, logs, or thatch but move en masse during periods of heavy rain or high humidity year round. They breed in temporary shallow bodies of water in spring.
Plummer (1977) reported that earthworms make up a major portion of the diet of the Small-mouthed Salamander in Douglas County. He also found centipedes, spiders, weevils and beetle fragments.

Occurrence Activity:
White dates indicate there is at least a single recorded occurrence on that date. The darker blue a date is, the greater the relative number of observations for that date.
Most easily collected on rainy spring nights as they travel across roads (often in great concentrations) to and from breeding sites (Rundquist 1979). Larval specimens are occasionally seined from small fishless ponds and ditches through the summer.

1885 Cragin, Francis W. Recent additions to the list of Kansas reptiles and batrachians, with further notes on species previously reported. Bulletin of the Washburn College Laboratory of Natural History 1(3):100-103
1885 Cragin, Francis W. Second contribution to the herpetology of Kansas, with observations on the Kansas fauna. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 9():136-140
1911 Hurter, Julius. Herpetology of Missouri. Transactions of the Academy of Science St. Louis 20(5):59-274
1932 Gloyd, Howard K. The herpetological fauna of the Pigeon Lake Region, Miami County, Kansas. Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 15():389-408
1933 Smith, Hobart M. The Amphibians of Kansas Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence. 383pp.
1933 Stejneger, Leonhard and Thomas Barbour. A Checklist of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 3rd Edition. Harvard University Press, Cambridge,Massachusetts. pp.
1934 Smith, Hobart M. The Amphibians of Kansas. American Midland Naturalist 15(4):377-527
1953 Schmidt, Karl P. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 6th Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois. 280pp.
1956 Loomis, Richard B. The chigger mites of Kansas (Acarina, Trombiculidae). University of Kansas Science Bulletin 37():1195-1443
1967 Anderson, James D. Ambystoma texanum. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (37):1-2
1969 Tihen, Joseph A. Ambystoma. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (75):1-4
1977 Plummer, Michael V. Observations on breeding migrations of Ambystoma texanum. Herpetological Review 8():79-80
1977 Rundquist, Eric M. and Joseph T. Collins. The amphibians of Cherokee County, Kansas. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 12pp.
1979 Rundquist, Eric M. Herps observed or collected during the first three months of 1979. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (30):42893
1983 Ireland, Patrick H. and Ronald Altig. Key to the gilled salamander larvae and larviform adults of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Southwestern Naturalist 28(3):271-274
1984 Altig, Ronald and Patrick H. Ireland. A key to salamander larvae and larviform adults of the United States and Canada. Herpetologica 40(2):212-218
1992 Taggart, Travis W. Observations on Kansas amphibians and reptiles Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (88):13-15
1995 Moriarty, Emily C. and Joseph T. Collins. First known occurrence of amphibian species in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (100):28-30
2001 Taggart, Travis W. The KHS 2001 spring field trip: A rainy rendezvous. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (124):12-14
2002 Gubanyi, James E.. Osage County herp count I. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (4):15
2002 Riedle, J. Daren and A. Hynek. Amphibian and reptile inventory of the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant, Labette County, Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (2):18-20
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Distribution and status of Kansas herpetofauna in need of information. State Wildlife Grant T7. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. vii + 106pp.
2008 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2008 spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (25):2-3
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
Account Last Updated:
6/11/2019 11:15:47 AM

Travis W. Taggart © 2020 — Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University