eastern mud salamander (Pseudotriton montanus montanus)
This is a stocky, reddish salamander with a short tail and brown eyes. It grows to lengths of 3-6 1/2 in. (7.5-6.5 cm.). It has black spots on the back that are round and distinct. The color of the back is distinct from that of the reddish sides. Young salamanders are brighter, with distinctly separated spots and unmarked bellies. Older salamaders are red-brown to chocolate colored, with more, larger spots, and bellies spotted with black or brown. Courtship occurs in the early fall, spawning in December, and hatching in February. The clutch size is 66-192 and this species lays eggs every other year. The males mature in 3 years and the females in 4 years. It has been suggested that this salamander mimics the red eft stage of eastern newts.
This salamander inhabits muddy springs and mucky areas along streams, swamps, and bogs. The eastern mud salamander lives in the Piedmont and parts of the Coastal Plain, while the midland mud salamander is found west of the New River. In December and January they are found buried deep in mud at the bottom of a pool.
The aquatic larvae feed on small aquatic invertebrates. Not much is known about the adults’ food habits, but it is thought that they eat small invertebrates, such as beetles, spiders, and mites.