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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

Farm ponds as critical habitats for native amphibians
A Field Guide to Amphibian Larvae and Eggs of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa
Field guide contents

Four–toed Salamander Hemidactylium scutatum

Status: Wisconsin – Special Concern
Minnesota – Endangered
Four-toed Salamander
Size at hatching: 11 -15 mm. Size at metamorphosis: 17 - 25 mm total length

field mapAs the name suggests, this salamander has only four toes on the hind feet instead of five as in other salamanders (except the Mudpuppy). This species is in the large family of lungless salamanders, many of which lay their eggs on land and do not have a free-swimming larval stage. Four-toed Salamanders usually lay their eggs in moss near the edges of bogs. The female will stay with the eggs, guarding them. After the eggs hatch, the larvae drop into the water and spend the next several months as free-swimming larvae before metamorphosing into terrestrial adults. The larvae also have four toes, but are much smaller than Mudpuppy larvae and have a dorsal fin that extends onto their body (Figure 3c).

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Page Last Modified: December 29, 2010