Reticulated Flatwoods Salamander

Reticulated Flatwoods Salamander Distribution Map

Reticulated flatwoods salamander: Ambystoma bishopi

Taxonomic Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Caudata
Family: Ambystomatidae
Genus/Species: Ambystoma bishopi
Common Name: Reticulated flatwoods salamander

Listing Status

Federal Status: Endangered
FL Status: Federally-designated Endangered
FNAI Ranks: Not ranked
IUCN Status: VU (Vulnerable)

Physical Description

The reticulated flatwoods salamander is a long and slender salamander that can reach a body length of 5.2 inches (13 centimeters) (Ashton 1992). It has a silvery-gray or black body with white spots that are more distinct than on the frosted flatwoods salamander, Ambystoma cingulatum (Goin 1950 as cited in Pauly et at. 2007). Reticulated flatwoods salamanders also have a small head and a black belly.

Life History

The diet of the reticulated flatwoods salamanders primarily consists of earthworms and spiders (Goin 1950, P. Moler pers. comm. 2011).

Flatwoods salamanders migrate to ponds or small puddles to breed from October to January during wet weather.  Females lay clumps of eggs among vegetation such as twigs and pine needles.  The maximum clutch size for the flatwoods salamander is 35 eggs, which hatch 48 hours after being laid.  Larvae metamorphose in 90 days (Ashton 1992, J. Himes pers. comm. 2011).

Habitat and Distribution

Reticulated Flatwoods Salamander Distribution MapThe reticulated flatwoods salamander inhabits slash and longleaf pine flatwoods that have a wiregrass floor and scattered wetlands (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001).  This species occurs in Florida counties west of the Apalachicola River (Map Data from: Krysko et al. 2011).


The main threat to the reticulated flatwoods salamander is loss of habitat.  Pine flatwoods-wiregrass habitats have suffered rapid loss in the southeast due to agriculture and silviculture (Ashton 1992).  Continued loss of habitat could cause extensive population loss for the reticulated flatwoods salamander.  An extensive drop of the water table could prevent the necessary inundation of water that eggs require (Palis and Hammerson 2008). 

Conservation and Management

The reticulated flatwoods salamander is protected as an Endangered species by the Federal Endangered Species Act and as a Federally-designated Endangered species by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule.

Other Informative Links

Florida Natural Areas Inventory
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Change in Status and Critical Habitat Designation


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Ashton, S.P.,1992. Flatwoods salamander, Ambystoma cingulatum. Pages 39-43 in P. E. Moler, editor. Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. Volume III.  Amphibians and reptiles.  University Press of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.                                                

Florida Natural Areas Inventory.  2001.  Field guide to the rare animals of Florida.  

Goin C.J.  1950.  A study of the salamander, Ambystoma cingulatum, with the description of a new subspecies as cited in Pauly, Gregory; Oliver Piskurek; Bradley Shaffer (2007). "Phylogeographic concordance in the southeastern United States: the flatwoods     salamander, Ambystoma cingulatum, as a test case". Molecular Ecology 16 (2): 415-429.

John Palis, Geoffrey Hammerson 2008. Ambystoma bishopi. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of  Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <>. Downloaded on  06 August 2011.

Krysko, K., K. Enge, and P. Moler. 2011. Ambystoma bishopi Goin 1951 Reticulated flatwoods  salamander. Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Florida.

Image Credit FWC

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