Reticulated flatwoods salamander

The reticulated flatwoods salamander (Ambystoma bishopi ) is a species of mole salamander, an amphibian in the family Ambystomatidae.[2] The species is native to a small portion of the southeastern coastal plain of the United States in the western panhandle of Florida and extreme southwestern Georgia. The species once occurred in portions of southern Alabama but is now considered extirpated there. Its ecology and life history are nearly identical to its sister species, the frosted flatwoods salamander (A. cingulatum). A. bishopi inhabits seasonally wet pine flatwoods and pine savannas west of the Apalachicola River-Flint River system.[3] The fire ecology of longleaf pine savannas is well-known, but there is less information on natural fire frequencies of wetland habitats in this region.[4] Like the frosted flatwoods salamander, the reticulated flatwoods salamander breeds in ephemeral wetlands with extensive emergent vegetation, probably maintained by summer fires.[5] Wetlands overgrown with woody shrubs are less likely to support breeding populations.[6]

Reticulated flatwoods salamander
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Urodela
Family: Ambystomatidae
Genus: Ambystoma
A. bishopi
Binomial name
Ambystoma bishopi
Goin [fr], 1950


The specific name, bishopi, is in honor of American herpetologist Sherman C. Bishop.[7]


Ambystoma bishopi is a medium-sized species with a snout to vent length of 40 to 50 millimetres (1.6 to 2.0 in) and 14 to 16 costal grooves. The head is long with a tapered snout and there are vomerine teeth in the roof of the mouth. The forelimbs are stout and the tail is flattened towards the tip, being shorter than the head and body length combined. The skin is smooth and the dorsal surface is reticulated, with thin grey lines forming a net-like pattern on a brownish-black background. The ventral surface is dark with sparse white speckles. This salamander is similar in appearance to Ambystoma cingulatum but the latter has a more frosted dorsal pattern and larger white spots on the ventral surface.[8]

Distribution and habitatEdit

Ambystoma bishopi is a burrowing species of salamander and lives among the leaf litter beneath longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) and wiregrass (Aristida stricta) in the flatwoods coastal plain ecosystems of the Southeastern United States.[1]


Ambystoma bishopi is a terrestrial species. Breeding starts with the arrival of the rains in October. Eggs are laid in small depressions under herbaceous vegetation or leaf litter, at the base of stumps, in the entrances of crayfish holes, or in other hidden places near ponds.[9] After about three weeks they are ready to hatch but do not do so until they are flooded with water. The larvae are nocturnal, hiding during the day in the leaf litter and emerging to feed in the water at night. Metamorphosis usually takes place in the spring and mature individuals move to higher areas away from water where they live until the fall, when they return to flooded areas to breed.[8]


A. bishopi was described in 1950 and received endangered status by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in 2008.[10] In its Red List of Threatened Species, the IUCN lists Ambystoma bishopi as being "vulnerable". This is because the population trend is downward, as a result of habitat destruction and an increase in undergrowth.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Palis, John & Hammerson, Geoffrey (2008). "Ambystoma bishopi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2008: e.T136128A4245386. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T136128A4245386.en.
  2. ^ a b Frost, Darrel R. (2017). "Ambystoma bishopi Goin, 1950". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  3. ^ Pauly, Gregory; Piskurek, Oliver; Shaffer, Bradley (2007). "Phylogeographic concordance in the southeastern United States: the flatwoods salamander, Ambystoma cingulatum, as a test case". Molecular Ecology. 16 (2): 415–429. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2006.03149.x. PMID 17217354.
  4. ^ Frost CC (1993). "Presettlement fire regimes in southeastern marshes, peatlands, and swamps". pp. 39-60 In: Cerulean SI, Engstrom RT (editors). (1993). Fire in Wetlands: A Management Perspective. Proceedings of the 19th Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference, Tallahassee, FL, November 3–6, 1993.
  5. ^ Bishop DC, Haas CA (2005). "Burning trends and potential negative effects of suppressing wetland fires on flatwoods salamanders" (PDF). Natural Areas Journal. 25: 290–294. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-08-16.
  6. ^ Gorman, TA; Bishop, DC; Haas, CA (2009). "Factors related to occupancy of breeding wetlands by flatwoods salamander larvae" (PDF). Wetlands. 29: 323–329. doi:10.1672/08-155.1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-27.
  7. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2013). The Eponym Dictionary of Amphibians. Exeter, England: Pelagic Publishing Ltd. xiii + 262 pp. ISBN 978-1-907807-41-1. (Ambystoma bishopi, p. 23).
  8. ^ a b McKenzie, Jennifer; Perales, K. Martin; Corbett, Veronica (2012-03-15). "Ambystoma bishopi ". AmphibiaWeb. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  9. ^ Gorman, TA; Powell, SD; Jones, KC; Haas, CA (2014). "Microhabitat characteristics of egg deposition sites used by reticulated flatwoods salamanders". Herpetological Conservation and Biology. 9: 543–550.
  10. ^ "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Endangered Status for Reticulated Flatwoods Salamander; Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for Frosted Flatwoods Salamander and Reticulated Flatwoods Salamander; Proposed Rule". Federal Register. United States Fish and Wildlife Service. 73 (157). 2008-08-13.

Further readingEdit

  • Goin CJ (1950). "A Study of the Salamander, Ambystoma cingulatum, with the description of a New Subspecies". Annals of the Carnegie Museum 31: 299-321. (Ambystoma cingulatum bishopi, new subspecies).
  • Powell R, Conant R, Collins JT (2016). Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Fourth Edition. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. xiv + 494 pp. ISBN 978-0-544-12997-9. (Ambystoma bishopi, pp. 31–32, Figure 9 + Plate 1).