Ambystoma Jeffersonianum

Submitted By coroughe66
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Corey D. Uhrin
Dr.Skinner Ambystoma jeffersonianum A.jeffersonianum is a member of the family Ambystomatidae sharing common ancestry with species like A.tigrinum, A.maculatum, A.opacum, and A.laterale. It is native to the Northeast United States, South central Ontario, and Southwestern Quebec. The species is typically dark gray, black, or brown on dorsal side with some individuals exhibiting silver or blue specs on the mid-lateral and ventral region. This amphibian is well suited for burrowing. They boast adaptations such as a sleek and slender build, distinctive long toes, a wide nose, and well-developed lungs. A.jeffersonianum is nocturnal and can be found on cool rainy nights during the breeding season likely crossing roads on route to its chosen breeding pond. They are usually associated with vernal ponds, which are breeding pools for amphibians and insects that fill in the spring and are void of predators increasing the likelihood of survival for the next generation. They will adopt any pond though, should it meet that condition. These salamanders are a sure sign of spring as they are some of the first amphibians to begin spawning shortly after the snow melts. It is named after Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. A.jeffersonianum is considered a threatened species under the state of Pennsylvania, and is an obligate wetland species. They have been observed mitigating to upland hemlock\deciduous forests to burrow in the rich soil. The “jeff” as it is affectionately called is often found in the same habitat as A.maculatum. The race to the pond is a quick one, one that usually happens under a heavy rainfall. Some of the treks to these breeding ponds are quite treacherous; a percentage ends up in the gullet of a crow, or anything else that would scavenge a carcass. The male will migrate to the breeding pool earlier than the female, and can be seen appearing out of the smallest of openings in the snow and ice. The jeff is an insectivore consuming an array of invertebrates. An interesting adaptation of this animal is the presence of pores located on the dorsal side of the cranium which secrete a white colored mucus. This behavior leads some scientists to believe that the salamanders leave a chemical trail as they move about. Another interesting behavior that has been noted is the presence of jeffs in frozen ponds, suggesting they may tunnel into them. These incredible animals are an elusive and enigmatic species. They are usually found burrowed underground, or under cover-objects. They can reach approximately 11-18cm at adult size. Reproduction occurs by a male depositing a spermatozoa, usually onto a sunken twig, or drowned leaf. The female will then acquire the spermatozoa by gripping it with the lips of her cloaka and gently inserting it into her reproductive system. A.jeffersonianum has been observed reproducing with A.laterale. A clutch consists of five to 50 eggs with an average of 30. We do not