Keys to Nature
Project
Key to Calumet Region Salamanders and Newts


© Alan Resetar - Keys to Nature Project

Title:
Key to Calumet Region Salamanders and Newts
Version:
219
Author(s):
Alan Resetar, Collection Manager, Division of Amphibians and Reptiles, Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496 USA, 1-312-665-7768
Email:
aresetar@fieldmuseum.org
Description:
Lay people, citizen scientists and natural resource professionals can use this key to identify Calumet Region salamanders and newts. The only Chicago Region salamanders not in the key are the southern two-lined salamander (Eurycea cirrigera), small-mouthed salamander (Ambystoma texanum) and western lesser siren (Siren intermedia nettingi). A one page field guide to the amphibians and reptiles of southeastern Chicago and northwestern Indiana can be found at http://fm2.fmnh.org/plantguides/guide_pdfs/CW3_Amphs_Reps_v1.pdf. Thanks to Bil Alverson and Jennie Kluse for all of their advice and assistance.

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Key Structure:
Key to Calumet Region Salamanders and Newts

1a. Red, branching, external gills on sides of neck retained
throughout life; four toes on hind feet; only found in aquatic
habitats . . . Mudpuppy (Necturus m. maculosus)
1b. Branching, external gills on sides of neck not retained
throughout life; either four or five toes on hind feet . . . 2

2a. Nasolabial groove (cleft extending from nostril down
lip to mouth opening) present . . . 3
2b. Nasolabial groove (cleft extending from nostril down
lip to mouth opening) absent . . . 4

3a. Four toes on hind feet; pure white belly with
distinct black spots; constriction at base of tail
. . . Four- toed salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum)
3b. Five toes on hind feet; belly covered with equal
amounts of black and white mottling giving a "salt
and pepper" effect; two color phases with either
red or dark gray stripe on back; no constriction
at base of tail . . . Redback salamander (Plethodon
cinereus)

4a. Costal grooves on sides of body between insertion
of limbs distinct; smooth skin . . . 5
4b. Costal grooves on sides of body indistinct; rough
skin . . . Central newt (Notophthalmus viridescens)

5a. Back marked with white or gray crossbands which may
be shaped like hourglasses . . . Marbled salamander
(Ambystoma opacum)
5b. Light colored crossbands on back absent . . . 6

6a. Yellow to olive markings on dark colored back although
pattern is sometimes reversed with dark markings on light
colored back . . . 7
6b. Bluish flecks on dark blue back . . . Blue-spotted
salamander (Ambystoma laterale) or hybrid mole
salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum complex)

7a. Two parallel rows of yellowish spots running down
back . . . Spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)
7b. Randomly distributed yellowish spots varying in size,
shape, frequency and intensity on back and sides
although pattern is sometimes reversed with dark
markings on light colored back . . . Eastern tiger
salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)


Glossary

Costal grooves: folds in the skin on the side of the body
between the fore and hind limbs that are perpendicular
to the dorsum.
Dorsal: the back.
Dorsum: the back.
Nasolabial groove: groove extending from the nostril
straight down to the opening of the mouth.
Venter: lower surface of the body (i.e. the belly).

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Please email keystonature@fieldmuseum.org with questions or concerns.
This page was last modified on: Mon, 27 Sep 2010 14:41:16 -0500.