- Federal Status: Threatened
- FL Status: Federally-designated Threatened
- FNAI Ranks: Not ranked
- IUCN Status: VU (Vulnerable)
The frosted 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 less distinct than on the reticulated flatwoods salamander,Ambystoma bishopi (Goin 1950 as cited in Pauly et at. 2007). Frosted flatwoods salamanders also have a small head and a black belly.
The diet of the frosted flatwoods salamander 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).
The frosted flatwoods salamander inhabits slash and longleaf pine flatwoods that have a wiregrass floor and scattered wetlands (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). This species occurs east of the Apalachicola River in Franklin, Wakulla, Liberty, Jefferson, and Baker counties (P. Moler pers. comm. 2011).
The main threat to the frosted 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 frosted flatwoods salamander. Also, 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 frosted flatwoods salamander is protected as a Threatened species by the Federal Endangered Species Act and as a Federally-designated Threatened species by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule.
Ashton, S.P.,1992. Flatwoods salamander, Ambystoma cingulatum. Pages 39-43inP. 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.
Palis, J, and G. Hammerson. 2008. Ambystoma cingulatum. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/1099/0. Downloaded on 05 August 2011.
Goin C.J. 1950. A study of the salamander, Ambystoma cingulatum, with the description of a new subspeciesas 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.