A Florida Flatwoods Salamander
A Flatwoods Salamander
Photo credit: USGS


The Endangered Amphibians of Florida



The Flatwoods Salamander
Ambystoma cingulatum


To begin: what is an amphibian?

Amphibian is from the Greek amphibios, or two lives.

Amphibians are cold blooded animals that spend time

both in and out of water. They usually go through a change

or metamorphosis and become another animal.

All Amphibians have thin skin which is quite susceptible

 to temperature changes, so they are careful

not to get too hot or too cold.

Salamanders are long, slender bodied Amphibians,

 between three and five inches long,

with short legs and a long tail.

They may live up to ten years.


At first glance, Salamanders may appear to resemble

 Lizards which are Reptiles, but, their nearest relatives

are actually Frogs and Toads, which are Amphibians,

and like them they also lead double lives,

going in and out of the water.


Salamanders capture their food, which consists mostly

of insects, spiders and worms by flicking

their long tongue and catching their prey.


Their Ancestral Habitat has been in the

Southeast Longleaf Pine Ecosystem.

They are Fossorial, meaning they would rather

 live underground in sandy soil hidden under a log,

or in little burrows that they have dug.


The Flatwoods Salamander is Endangered for the same

reason most other Florida species are, loss of habitat.

Its ancestral home, the Longleaf Pine Ecosystem,

has been decimated and so have they.

A Flatwoods Salamander
A Flatwoods Salamander
Photo credit: FWS


It occurs now only in Northern Florida, Southern Georgia,

Alabama and South Carolina, or exactly where

the Longleaf Pines once dominated the South.


This Amphibian has become one of the most

 Endangered Species in the United States.

Amphibians have become the Canary of Wildlife,

and they are disappearing in unthinkable numbers.

Those who still remain demonstrate alarming

genetic alterations or anomalies and sexual morphing

and clearly illustrate for all the world to see,

that our casual use of chemicals everywhere everyday

is dangerous and having profound consequences.

 The most frightening fact of all, is that Amphibians

 are not the only ones who are being affected.


Places to learn more:

Animal Diversity Web

Ambystoma Cingulatum



Effects of Clearcutting on Amphibians



Flatwoods Salamander



Florida Panhandle


San Diego Zoo

Animal Bytes: Amphibians


Science Daily


Ancient Amphibians


St. Louis Zoo



U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Flatwoods Salamanders Gets Endangered Listing



Flatwood Salamander



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Last edited January 21, 2023

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