Ambystoma macrodactylum 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Caudata Ambystomatidae

Scientific Name: Ambystoma macrodactylum
Species Authority: (Baird, 1850)
Common Name(s):
English Long-toed Salamander
Ambystoma macrodactyla Baird, 1850
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2014. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6 (27 January 2014). New York, USA. Available at: (Accessed: 27 January 2014).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-08-25
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Stuart, S.N.
Contributor(s): Hammerson, G.A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Green, C., Sharp, D. & Garcia Moreno, J.

Listed as Least Concern in view of the large extent of occurrence, large number of subpopulations and locations, presumed large population size, and use of a wide range of habitats.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Least Concern (LC)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The range includes western North America and extends from southeastern Alaska southward to Tuolumne County, California, east to Rocky Mountains, British Columbia, west-central Alberta, western Montana, and central Idaho. There are isolated populations in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, California (Bury et al. 1980). Elevational range extends from sea level to about 3,050 meters (Stebbins 2003). The extent of occurrence is around 1,438,000 km2.
Countries occurrence:
Canada (Alberta, British Columbia); United States (Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington)
Upper elevation limit (metres): 3050
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The total adult population size is unknown, but it surely exceeds 10,000 and is relatively stable.
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species occurs in a wide variety of habitats, from semiarid sagebrush deserts to sub alpine meadows, including dry woodlands, humid forests, and the rocky shores of mountain lakes. Adults are subterranean except during the breeding season. Breeding sites include temporary or permanent ponds (including artificial ponds), or quiet water at the edge of lakes and streams. During the breeding season adults may be found under logs, rocks, and other debris near water. Eggs are attached to vegetation or loose on bottom. It has a free-living larval stage.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There are no reports of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In the Cascades of northern Washington, larval abundance was related to both lake productivity and the presence of introduced predatory trout (reduced larval abundance when trout present) (Tyler et al. 1998). In Montana, introduced trout populations clearly excluded salamanders from lakes (Funk and Dunlap 1999).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Needed
Fisheries management could improve the status of salamander populations by not introducing non-native fishes into salamander habitats. Removal of these predators from otherwise favorable salamander habitat is appropriate in many locations. 

Research Needed
Research is required for population trends, size and monitoring.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.1. Forest - Boreal
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
4. Grassland -> 4.4. Grassland - Temperate
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.2. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent/Irregular Rivers/Streams/Creeks
suitability: Marginal season: resident 
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.5. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.7. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.8. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.2. Artificial/Aquatic - Ponds (below 8ha)
suitability: Marginal season: resident 
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
2. Land/water management -> 2.2. Invasive/problematic species control

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
8. Invasive & other problematic species & genes -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species -> 8.1.2. Named species
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Anderson, J.D. 1968. A comparison of the food habits of Ambystoma macrodactylum sigillatum, Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum, and Ambystoma tigrinum califoriense. Herpetologica: 273-284.

Blackburn, L., Nanjappa, P. and Lannoo, M.J. 2001. An Atlas of the Distribution of U.S. Amphibians. Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA.

Bury, R.B., Dodd, Jr., C.K. and Fellers, G.M. 1980. Conservation of the Amphibia of the United States: a review. Resource Publication: 1-34.

Corkran, C.C. and Thoms, C. 1996. Amphibians of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Lone Pine Publishing, Edmonton, Alberta.

Ferguson, D.E. 1963. Ambystoma macrodactylum. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles: 1-2.

Fish and Wildlife Service. 1980. Selected vertebrate endangered species of the seacoast of the United States - Blunt-nosed leopard lizard. FWS/OBS-80/01.2, Slidell.

Frost, D.R. 1985. Amphibian Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Allen Press and the Association of Systematic Collections, Lawrence, Kansas.

Funk, W.C. and Dunlap, W.W. 1999. Colonization of high-elevation lakes by long-toed salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum) after the extinction of introduced trout populations. Canadian Journal of Zoology: 1759-1767.

Howard, J.H. and Wallace, R.L. 1985. Life history characteristics of populations of the long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) from different altitudes. American Midland Naturalist: 361-373.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Jones, T.R., Kluge, A.G. and Wolf, A.J. 1993. When theories and methodologies clash: a phylogenetic reanalysis of the North American ambystomatid salamanders (Caudata: Ambystomatidae). Systematic Biology: 92-102.

Kraus, F. 1988. An empirical evaluation of the use of the ontogeny polarization criterion in phylogenetic inference. Systematic Zoology: 106-141.

Leonard, W.P., Brown, H.A., Jones, L.L.C., McAllister, K.R. and Storm, R.M. 1993. Amphibians of Washington and Oregon. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington.

Nussbaum, R.A., Brodie, Jr., E.D. and Storm, R.M. 1983. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Pacific Northwest. University Press of Idaho, Moscow, ID, USA.

Petranka, J.W. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

Russell, A. P., G. L. Powell, and D. R. Hall. 1996. Growth and age of Alberta long-toed salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum krausei): a comparison of two methods of estimation. Canadian Journal of Zoology: 397-412.

Shaffer, H.B., Clark, J.M. and Kraus, F. 1991. When molecules and morphology clash: a phylogenetic analysis of the North American ambystomatid salamanders (Caudata: Ambystomatidae). Systematic Zoology: 284-303.

Smith, H.M. 1978. A Guide to Field Identification: Amphibians of North America. Golden Press, New York, NY, USA.

Stebbins, R.C. 1985. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Second Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.

Stebbins, R.C. 2003. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.

Tallmon, D.A., Funk, W.C., Dunlap, W.W. and Allendorf, F.W. 2000. Genetic differentiation among long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) populations. Copeia: 27-35.

Tyler, T.J., Liss, W.J., Hoffman, R.L. and Ganio, L.M. 1998. Experimental analysis of trout effects on survival, growth, and habitat use of two species of ambystomatid salamanders. Journal of Herpetology: 345-349.

Tyler, T., Liss, W.J., Ganio, L.M., Larson, G.L., Hoffman, R., Deimling, E., and Lomnicky, G. 1998. Interaction between introduced trout and larval salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum) in high-elevation lakes. Conservation Biology: 94-105.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1990. Endangered and threatened species recovery program: report to Congress.

Walsh, R. 1998. An extension of the known range of the long-toed salamander, Ambystoma macrodactylum, in Alberta. Canadian Field-Naturalist: 331-333.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2015. Ambystoma macrodactylum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T59063A56539990. . Downloaded on 02 December 2015.
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