Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum)
Marbled Salamanders are stout-bodied salamanders that have black and white alternating crossbands down the back along with a black belly. The lighter dorsal bands are white in males and grayish in females. They reach about 5 inches in length.
Like other mole salamanders in West Virginia, Marbled Salamanders remain underground until the breeding period. Unlike the other species of this genus, they breed and deposit eggs in the autumn. Mating occurs on land, usually in or around dried temporary pools that fill with water during autumn rains. Females deposit 60 to 130 eggs in small depressions in dried pools and remain with the nests for several weeks but not always until they become inundated. Eggs hatch in autumn or early winter, depending upon the flooding of nests. Larvae spend the winter in pools and transform the ensuing summer.
Marbled Salamanders occur in every county but probably not at elevations over 3,000 ft.