Date of Award
The small-mouthed salamander (Ambystoma texanum), a common species in the midwestern United States, lays its eggs in temporary ponds during mid to late March once they have filled with water from the melting winter snow or early spring rains. For its relative abundance in the Midwest, there is little known about the life history of this species. My research followed the growth of small-mouthed salamander larvae in ponds between hatching, which occurred in early spring (mid-April), and metamorphosis, which occurred in midsummer (early June to mid-July). The research focused on the growth, larval development, and timing of metamorphosis with special attention paid to the age and body size at metamorphic climax. I found a minimum period of about 2 months for metamorphosis completion for rapidly progressing individuals, with the full cohort finishing transformation by 3-3.5 months. Further research and descriptive studies like this one will be needed to better understand the ecology of this species for the purpose of its long term conservation.
Zellmer, Nicholas T., "Growth, larval development and metamorphosis in small-mouthed salamanders (Ambystoma texanum)" (2010). Undergraduate Honors Thesis Collection. Paper 84.