AMPHIBIA (Amphibians) CAUDATA (Salamanders) AMBYSTOMATIDAE (Mole Salamanders)

SMALL-MOUTHED SALAMANDER
Ambystoma texanum (Matthes 1855)
ăm-bĭs-tō-mă — tĕx-ā-nŭm


Conservation Status:

State: None

Federal: None
NatureServe State: S5 - Secure
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure
CITES: None

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.

Diagnosis:
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 the body between the 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 total length. The largest specimen from Kansas is a female (KU 218583) from Douglas County with a snout-vent length of 92 mm and a total length of 171 mm (6¾ inches) collected by Kevin R. Toal on 26 March 1991. The maximum length throughout the range is 7 1/2 inches (Powell et al. 2016).

Distribution:
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) (,   iNat Record)
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 642
    Records 
  • 615
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 27
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Allen (4); Anderson (1); Bourbon (33); Butler (4); Chase (3); Chautauqua (1); Cherokee (15); Coffey (8); Cowley (2); Crawford (9); Doniphan (1); Douglas (370); Elk (19); Franklin (9); Greenwood (2); Harper (1); Jefferson (3); Johnson (6); Labette (35); Leavenworth (1); Linn (22); Lyon (3); Miami (39); Montgomery (8); Neosho (4); Osage (21); Sedgwick (4); 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.
Remarks:
First reported from Kansas by Jordan (1878), no specific localities given. The earliest existing specimens (KU 952-3) were collected by Frank A. Hartman at Haskell Bottoms in Douglas County on 12 March 1904.
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.
Gloyd (1932) discovered two specimens in the damp earth under stones in Miami County on 6 April 1929.

Bibliography:
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1878 Jordan, David S. Manual of the Vertebrates of the Northern United States: Including the District East of the Mississippi River, and North of North Carolina and Tennessee, Exclusive of Marine Species. Second Edition, Revised, and Enlarged. Jansen, McClurg & Company, Chicago. pp.
1880 Cragin, Francis W. A preliminary catalogue of Kansas reptiles and batrachians Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 7():112-123
Also listed the Scarlet Snake (Cemophora coccinea) [=Ophibolus doliatus var. coccineus] and Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber) [=Spelerpes ruber] from Kansas.
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
First record of Notophthalmus viridescens from Kansas. Second record (after the type locality) of Pseudacris crucifer from Kansas.
1933 Stejneger, Leonhard and Thomas Barbour. A Checklist of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 3rd Edition. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. pp.
Reference to Kansas is the listed range of several species.
1933 Brumwell, Malcolm J. Distributional records of the reptilia and amphibians of Kansas. Privately printed, . 22pp.
County dot maps of the Kansas herpetofauna. This work has been attributed to have been written around 1933, but that may be in error.
1933 Smith, Hobart M. The Amphibians of Kansas Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence. 383pp.
The first full accounting of the twenty-five species of amphibians known to occur in Kansas. Includes Ambystoma maculatum which is currently not included in the Kansas faunal list.
1934 Smith, Hobart M. The Amphibians of Kansas. American Midland Naturalist 15(4):377-527
The formal publication of Hobart Smith's Master's Thesis (Smith 1933), though there are several updated and additions. In addition to the species accounts for all twenty-five species, the paper includes a history of amphibian biology in Kansas and discussions on taxonomy and physiography. 
1937 Youngstrom, Karl A. Studies on developing behavior in anuran larvae and tadpoles. Dissertation. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 118pp.
1947 Hall, Henry H. and Hobart M. Smith Selected records of reptiles and amphibians from southeastern Kansas Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 49(4):447-454
Report on certain Kansas specimens housed in the collection at what is now Pittsburg State University. Included are several species of dubious status today, including Cryptobranchus alleganiensis from the Neosho and Spring rivers (the only specimens from those significant drainages ever documented), Ambystoma maculatum from just north of Pittsburg, Crawford County, Heterodon nasicus from Crawford County, Opheodrys vernalis from Crawford County, Sonora episcopa from Crawford County, Agkistrodon piscivorus from Cherokee County, Crotalus atrox from Crawford County, and Crotalus viridis from Crawford County. They report several significant range extensions including Kinosternon flavescens from Turkey Creek in southeast Cherokee County, Graptemys geographica from just north of Pittsburg, Crotaphytus collaris from near Columbus, Cherokee County, Sceloporus consobrinus from just north of Pittsburg, Phrynosoma cornutum from Cherokee and Crawford counties, Heterodon platirhinos from Cherokee and Crawford counties, Haldea striatula from Crawford County, Sistrurus tergeminus from Crawford County, and a 402 lb Macrochelys temminckii in Cherokee County from just east of Chetopa (Labette County). They allude to the potential for Anaxyrus fowleri to occur in southeast Kansas and for native populations of Crotalus atrox in south central Kansas (in part from the disclosure that John R. Breukelman [then of ESU] had obtained three specimens in Woods County Oklahoma, 3/4 of a mile south of the Kansas line). None of the specimens the paper was based on, exist today.
1950 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History, Miscellaneous Publication (2):336
The first modern herpetology of Kansas. Includes locality dot maps within individual species accounts. Reports 96 species from Kansas (table and text say 97 on p. 10) and 13 "probable but unverified" species and subspecies.
1953 Schmidt, Karl P. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 6th Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois. 280pp.
Schmidt's first edition of his standardized checklist to North American amphibians and reptiles. Includes several specific references to Kansas in the range descriptions.
1956 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. Second edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Miscellaneous Publication (9):1-356
Hobart M. Smith's updated second edition of his first (1950) modern herpetology of Kansas. Includes locality dot maps within individual species accounts. Reports 96 species from Kansas (table says 97 on p. 10; text says 98 on p. 10) and 11 "probable but unverified" species and subspecies. The second edition has updated taxonomy, added Plestiodon laticeps, and removed Eurycea tynerensis.
1956 Loomis, Richard B. The chigger mites of Kansas (Acarina, Trombiculidae). University of Kansas Science Bulletin 37():1195-1443
Examined 2,628 Kansas reptiles of 48 species consisting of 27 turtles of 4 species, 1,736 lizards of 12 species and 892 snakes of 32 species for chiggers. Eleven species of chiggers were recovered from reptiles.
For amphibians, 1188 individuals of 21 species were examined. Five species of chigger mite were recovered from amphibians.
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
1974 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (1):283 pp
Joseph T. Collins first Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Smith 1956)>
1974 Karns, Daryl, Ray E. Ashton, Jr., and Thomas Swearingen. Illustrated Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas: An Identification Manual. University of Kansas Publications Museum of Natural History Public Education Series(2):viii + 18
1976 Rundquist, Eric M. Field checklist (of) amphibians and reptiles of Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society, Lawrence. pp.
1977 Rundquist, Eric M. and Joseph T. Collins. The amphibians of Cherokee County, Kansas. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 12pp.
1977 Plummer, Michael V. Observations on breeding migrations of Ambystoma texanum. Herpetological Review 8():79-80
1978 Perry, Janice. KHS successful at Miami County State Lake. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (27):5
1978 Collins, Joseph T. and Janalee P. Caldwell. New records of fishes, amphibians, and reptiles in Kansas for 1977. Technical Publication of the State Biological Survery of Kansas 6():70-88
1979 Knight, James L. Herps observed or collected during the first three months of 1979. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (30):6-7
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. 2nd edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (8):
Joseph T. Collins second Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Collins 1974)>
1983 Trott, Gene. Chikaskia River wildlife study. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (52):3-4
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 Brown, Kenneth L. Pomona: A plains village variant in eastern Kansas and western Missouri. Dissertation. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 519pp.
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
1985 Capron, Marty. Thunder snakes, blow vipers, and others. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (60):9-10
1986 Hooper, Errol D., JR., and Jeffery F. Whipple. Smallmouth Salamander coloration. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (65):18
1989 Collins, Joseph T. First Kansas herp counts held in 1989. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (77):11-
1989 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1989. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (78):16-21
1990 Lardie, Richard L. Kansas threatened species and protection of the Gypsum Hills habitat. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (80):14-15
1990 Collins, Joseph T. Maximum size records for Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (81):13-17
1991 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1991 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1990. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (83):7-13
1992 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1991. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (87):12-17
1992 Taggart, Travis W. Observations on Kansas amphibians and reptiles Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (88):13-15
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Third Edition. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Lawrence. 397pp.
Joseph T. Collins third Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Collins 1982)>
1994 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the sixth annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1994. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (97):5-14
See, 1994 Rundquist, Eric M. Additions and corrections [to the results of the sixth annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1994]. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (98):4.
1995 Moriarty, Emily C. and Joseph T. Collins. First known occurrence of amphibian species in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (100):28-30
1995 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the seventh annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1995. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (101):11-17
1996 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the eighth annual KHS herp counts Held 1 April-31 May 1996. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (104):6-17
1996 Rakestraw, J. Spring herp counts: A Kansas tradition. Reptile & Amphibian Magazine (March-April):75-80
1997 Collins, Joseph T. A report on the KHS fall field trip to the Marais des Cygnes wildlife refuges. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (110):2-3
1998 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed, expanded. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1998 Gamble, Jerre Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hartford, Kansas. 91pp.
1999 Rundquist, Eric M. Kansas Herpetological Society herp counts: A 10 year summary and evaluation. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (115):42962
2001 Taggart, Travis W. The KHS 2001 spring field trip: A rainy rendezvous. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (124):12-14
2001 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the thirteenth annual KHS herp counts for 2001, held 1 April-30 June. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (125):13-16
2002 Kingsbury, Bruce and Joanna Gibson. Habitat Management Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles of the Midwest. Publication of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Address not given. 152pp.
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
2002 Gubanyi, James E.. Osage County herp count I. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (4):15
2003 Volkmann, Al. Cowley County herp count 1. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (7):7
2004 Collins, Joseph T. Marais des Cygnes herp count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (11):11
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
2009 Murrow, Daniel G. KHS 2009 spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (29):42769
2010 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. 400pp.
Joseph T. Collins fourth Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Collins 1993)>
2010 Graziano, Michael P. Natural history and distribution of the Small-mouthed Salamander (Ambystoma texanum) in Nebraska. Thesis. University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska. 77pp.
2010 Murrow, Daniel G. Kansas Herpetological Society spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (33):2-3
2011 Taggart, Travis W. Kansas Herpetological Society 2011 spring field trip to beheld in Chautauqua County. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (37):5-7
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
2013 Bass, Neil The Missouri River Fish and Wildlife Mitigation Project: For the river, for you, and for herps. Collinsorum 2(1/2):10-11
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2012 Spring Field Trip to Bourbon County State Lake. Collinsorum 2(3/4):3
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2013 Spring Field Trip to Schermerhorn Park, Cherokee County. Collinsorum 2(3/4):4
2014 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the 2014 KHS Fall Field Trip to Woodson County. Collinsorum 3(2-4):12
2014 Taggart, Travis W. Recent scientific and standard English name changes effecting the Kansas herpetofauna. Collinsorum 3(2-4):9-10
2016 Powell, Robert, Roger Conant, and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. 494pp.
2017 Taggart, Travis W. and J. Daren Riedle. A Pocket Guide to Kansas Amphibians, Turtles and Lizards. Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, Kansas. 69pp.
2017 Mardis, Dexter R. Results from three Herpetofaunal tallies at Wichita State University’s Youngmeyer Ranch in Northwestern Elk County. Collinsorum 6(1):8-10
2017 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the 2017 KHS Spring Field Trip to Elk County, Kansas. Collinsorum 6(2-3):6-8
2020 Daniel, Richard E. and Brian S. Edmond. Atlas of Missouri Amphibians and Reptiles for 2019. Privately printed, Columbia, Missouri. 86pp.
2020 Riedle, J. Daren. Revisiting Kansas Herpetological Society field trip and Herp Count data: Distributional patterns and trend data of Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Collinsorum 9(1):7-16
2021 Taggart, Travis W and Sarah L Taggart. Herp Count: Cherokee County: KHS-2020-03 Collinsorum 9(3):12
Account Last Updated:
5/24/2021 1:21:10 PM