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Back to Education IndexThe barred tiger salamander or western tiger salamander (Ambystoma mavortium) is a species of mole salamander found predominantly in the regions from south-western Canada in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, south through the western United States to Texas and northern Mexico.
The barred tiger salamander typically grows up to 22 cm (8.7 in) but it can grow to 30.5 cm (12.0 in) long at the most and is one of the largest species of salamander in North America. It has a broad head and a sturdy body. The colour is variable across its range. The dorsal surface is grey, dark brown or black with bars and spots of muddy yellow giving it a tiger-like colouring. The ventral surface varies from light to dark. Larvae have alternating dark and light blotches on the centre of the dorsal surface and pale stripes running along the sides
Predominantly nocturnal, barred tiger salamanders are opportunistic feeders, and will often eat anything they can catch, including various insects, slugs, and earthworms. They are primarily terrestrial as adults, but their juvenile larval stage is entirely aquatic, having external gills. Breeding takes place during most months of the year.
The eggs are laid in water and the developing larvae are aquatic. There have been reports of cannibalism in this species but it seems to vary in extent in different parts of its range.
This page is about the striking Barred Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma mavortium)
Click HERE for a Tiger Salamander care sheet.