Ohio State Amphibian

Spotted Salamander

State Symbol: Ohio State Amphibian: Spotted Salamander

(Ambystoma maculatum)

Adopted in 2010.

Even though they live mostly underground, the spotted salamander, (Ambystoma maculatum,) is Ohio's official state amphibian.

State lawmakers declared the salamander's status as the state amphibian in 2010. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources reports salamanders are found anywhere in Ohio where there are low-lying moist woodlands adjacent to swamps, ponds and creeks. The salamander has a nocturnal nature and tunnels underground, mostly being seen above the surface in early spring to migrate to breeding ponds. The spotted salamander is described as having a chunky body with two rows of bright yellow or gold spots on its sides.

Ohio State Amphibian: Spotted Salamander

State Symbol: Ohio State Amphibian: Spotted Salamander

Spotted Salamanders are large salamanders, sometimes growing over nine inches long. Their skin is bluish-black or dark gray, and they have two rows of round yellow or orange spots down their backs. Their bellies are slate gray. Spotted Salamanders live in forests where there are pools of water in the Spring, or nearby ponds. Adult Spotted Salamanders spend most of their time underground.


A large dark salamander measuring 4.5-7.5 inches. Has up to 50 round yellow or orange spots arranged irregularly down the back and sides. Base color is generally black or bluish-black.

Commonly Confused Species

Blue spotted salamander.


Mixed woodlands with slow moving streams, swamps, or vernal pools. Adults spend their time underground or under logs, boards, or stones.


The spotted salamander uses its sticky tongue to catch worms, insects, and underground snails.

Life History

Spotted Salamanders breed in March and April, after temperatures begin to get warmer and heavy rains have fallen. Warm spring nights trigger movements to breeding pools where jelly masses containing 100-200 eggs are attached to submerged sticks and vegetation. Usually breeds in pools that do not contain predatory fish. Hibernate in the ground or under rotting stumps.

Conservation Threats

Loss of upland and vernal pool habitat, road mortality during migratory seasons.

Ohio Law

The law designating the spotted salamander as the official Ohio state amphibian is from Section 5.033 (State amphibian) more specifically of the 2013 Ohio Revised Code GENERAL PROVISIONS Chapter 5 (STATE INSIGNIA; SEALS; HOLIDAYS) Section 5.033.

Section 5.033 - State amphibian.

Universal Citation: Ohio Rev Code §5.033 (2013)

The salamander, Ambystoma maculatum, commonly known as the spotted salamander, is the official amphibian of the state.

Added by 128th General Assembly File No.53,HB 393, §1, eff. 6/18/2010.

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Spotted Salamander

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Caudata
Family: Ambystomatidae
Genus: Ambystoma
Species: A. maculatum

State Amphibians
State Reptiles
The word amphibian means two-lives. Amphibians spend their lives in the water and on land.