Ambystomatidae (see family information on Tree of Life site)
Medium to large terrestrial salamanders (up to 340 mm in Ambystoma tigrinum ), occurring only in North America from southern Canada south to Mexico City. This family includes metamorphosing as well as facultative and obligate paedomorphic (maintaining juvenile traits as adults) species, such as the famous Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum ). Paedomorphs are confined to aquatic habitats and can be induced to metamorphose by the addition of iodine into their habitat. Polyploidy and gynogenetic lineages also occur within this family. The majority of the species in this family spend most of the year underground in rodent burrows and emerge only on rainy nights to mate and feed. Ambystomatid salamanders are famous for the migration of large numbers of individuals to mating ponds. Some morphological characters are: 1) lacrimal bone absent; 2) exoccipitals, prootics, and opisthotics fused; 3) vomerine teeth may be in a transverse orientation in the mouth.
Photo by John White
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Genus Ambystoma (32 species)
Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology
and conservation. [web application].
2013. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available: http://amphibiaweb.org/.
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