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State Salamander of North Carolina: Marbled Salamander

by Emily Horton and Amy Kemp
NC Government & Heritage Library, 2017

See also: North Carolina State Symbols and Official Adoptions main page

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The Marbled Salamander. Image courtesy of the North Carolina Herpetological Society. On June 26, 2013 the Marbled Salamander became the Official State Salamander in North Carolina (Session Laws 2013-189).

Selection as the State Salamander

The North Carolina Herpetological Society led the effort to designate the Marbled Salamander as the Official State Salamander. In hopes of representing the unique amphibian diversity of North Carolina and the Southeast region of the United States, they conducted a poll to determine the amphibians that best represent the state. After over 6,000 total votes in the poll, the Marbled Salamander was chosen along with the Pine Barren TreeFrog. This effort was spearheaded by Rachel Hopkins, a Raleigh teen who has brought awareness to amphibian conservation through her success in getting NC to recognize Save the Frogs Day!.

About the Marbled Salamander

The Marbled Salamander, or Ambystoma Opacum, can be found throughout North Carolina. It is a striking, chunky amphibian, sometimes called the ‘banded’ salamander because of the white bands around its body. Males have silver bands that turn white during breeding to attract a mate. Females are larger, and have silver bands. Every Marbled Salamander has a unique color pattern

The Marbled Salamander is a member of the ‘mole’ salamander family and can grow to be from 9 to 11 centimeters. They like to live in damp woodlands close to ponds or streams. Unlike the rest of the mole salamander family, the Marbled Salamander does not breed in water. The female instead will lay from 50 to 100 eggs under leaves in dried up pools or ponds. The eggs hatch when rains come and the ponds refill.

Baby salamanders, called larvae, hatch in the water and grow very quickly because they are constantly eating plankton. Larvae will stay in the water for two to nine months, and are considered adults 15 months after leaving the water. They usually live for three to four years.

Adult Salamanders spend most of their time in burrows underground or in leaf litter. They eat large amounts of food, and love to snack on small worms, insects, slugs, and snails. Predators of the Marbled Salamander include snakes, owls, raccoons, skunks, shrews, and weasels. To defend itself, the Marbled Salamander emits poison from glands on its tail which discourages others from eating it.

The Marbled Salamander is identified by the North Carolina Wildlife Commission's 2005 North Carolina Wildlife Action Plan as priority species for population monitoring and conservation in North Carolina.

NC Wildlife Resources Commission. 2013. "Gov. Pat McCrory signs HB 830, making the Pine Barrens treefrog and marbled salamander the official state frog and salamander, and making the Virginia opossum the official state marsupial."



BioKIDS - Kids' Inquiry of Diverse Species, Ambystoma opacum, Marbled Salamander. (accessed July 6, 2017).

Image Credits:

Image courtesy of the North Carolina Herpetological Society. Available from

NC Wildlife Resources Commission. 2013. "Gov. Pat McCrory signs HB 830, making the Pine Barrens treefrog and marbled salamander the official state frog and salamander, and making the Virginia opossum the official state marsupial." (accessed June 29, 2017).



Can you help me a bit I’m not sure why it was chosen as a state symbol.


first paragraph talks about why it was chosen. 

Erin Bradford, Governmet and Heritage Library


I need to know how often marbled salamanders eat but can't find it anywhere



This article does talk about eating as a baby and as an adult just above the image in this article. 

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library


Just found an adult salamander in my front yard. Was putting down grub worm dust because I have a huge mole problem. Safari info said they emit a toxin that is deadly so I bagged it and it’s off to the dump.


I have two hermite crabs


you have a salamander? cool!


studying state symbols


Science rocks! Study hard, 5th graders!

Got the Science Benchmark and Eog's this year!


I am working on a project.

A little more information?

Please, NCpedia, I know you cn do this!

P.S. This is due on Tuesday, January 22nd.

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