Geographical Range Eastern United States
Habitat Forests, woodlands, rocky hillsides
Scientific Name Ambystoma opacum
Conservation Status Common

Like their name implies, these salamanders have a blotchy, marbled appearance. All adults come in "basic black" but their markings come in a variety of colors: white or silver in males, and dull gray in females.

Marbled salamanders prefer forested areas, where they spend much of their time under rocks or logs or in underground burrows. They feed on small invertebrates, including insects, worms, and slugs.

When threatened, these salamanders secrete a milky substance from their tail to repel their enemy. They may also strike a defensive pose, lowering their head, raising their rear legs, and lashing their tail at the attacker.

Like all amphibians, the porous skin of salamanders leaves the animals particularly susceptible to pollutants and other environmental toxins. So these so-called "indicator species" are one way scientists measure the health of an eco-system.