Species at Risk

Jefferson Salamander

Jefferson Salamander

(Ambystoma jeffersonianum)


Status in Canada: Threatened

Status in Ontario: Threatened

Status at SWCR: Rare in Norfolk County

The Jefferson Salamander is a long, slender, dark grey salamander which may have pale blue-grey spots along its sides.  It occurs in a genetic complex with Blue-spotted Salamander, and these two species often hybridize, making identification difficult.

Quick Facts:

  • This secretive amphibian is so hard to tell from Blue-spotted salamanders that genetic testing is needed to confirm its identity!
  • It is rare in Norfolk County, but the genetic complex it requires is found at the SWCR.
  • It is considered a short-distance migrant: it spends most of its life in undisturbed forests near vernal pools, but can travel up to 1km in a year!

Threats at the St. Williams Conservation Reserve:

Habitat loss/degradation: The vernal pools they require are often damaged when forest management activities are not properly planned; or they dry out due to changes in the forest water regime. Other forest habitat features are often degraded through fragmentation, compaction, or rutting from inappropriate recreational activity.

Recreational Activities: inappropriate recreational activities can result in damage to individuals and populations.

Activities that can damage Jefferson salamander and its critical habitat include:

  1. Tree removal that eliminates the closed canopy conditions needed by this species.
  2. Activities that change the water regime in the woodlands.
  3. Activities that eliminate or damage woody debris on the forest floor: prescribed burns, unauthorized plant collecting, or off-trail ATV use.
  4. Off-trail recreational activities that can disturb habitat and injure individuals.
  5. Activities that remove individuals from their environment such as illegal collecting.

St. Williams Conservation Reserve management practices:

  • Ongoing surveys and research
  • Enforcement of unauthorized trail use

What you can do to help:

  • Follow the  code of conduct for recreational activities in the Conservation Reserve and know and respect the current trail-use regulations.
  • Report sightings to the SWCR CC, or the Natural Heritage Information Centre.
  • Report unauthorized trail use or any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).

More information:

Species At Risk Public Registry Profile

Ontario Species at Risk Profile

Funding for this project was provided through the Species At Risk Stewardship Fund