Discover Maryland's Herps

Field Guide to Maryland's Salamanders and Newts
(Order Caudata)

Jefferson Salamander
(Ambystoma jeffersonianum)

Adult Photo of Jefferson Salamander courtesy of John White


  • 4 - 7 in. 

  • Record: 8 in.

  • Appearance

  • Moderately large salamander with distinctively long toes and snout and a slender build. 

  • It has a broad flattened head and a dark gray, brownish gray or brownish black body with small bluish or silvery flecks on the sides of the head, limbs, tail and body (though these may be absent on older adults).

  • The dorsal surface may have no flecks or they are less numerous than on the sides.

  • The belly is pale. 

  • The tail is about as long as the body and is vertically compressed, though nearly oval in cross section.

  • Habitat Photo of Jefferson Salamander courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
    Habitat photo for Jefferson Salamander
    courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers


  • Deciduous and mixed forests adjacent to vernal pools, permanent small ponds and river terrace pools. 

  • Most pools and ponds used for breeding are fishless. 

  • Jeffersons live underground in rodent burrows or other subsurface retreats within the forest most of the year.

  • Maryland Distribution Map
    Maryland Distribution Map of Jefferson Salamander


    This is a State Watchlist species.  It was formerly state listed as “Threatened” but has been found to have a larger Maryland distribution than previously known and is locally abundant in some areas.

    Return to Field Guide to Maryland Salamanders

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    "A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"

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    The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.