ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT PROFILE

PROTECTION STATUS: Threatened (Ambystoma cingulatum, frosted flatwoods salamander); Endangered (Ambystoma bishopi, reticulated flatwoods salamander)

YEAR PLACED ON LIST: 1999 (frosted); 2009 (reticulated)

CRITICAL HABITAT: 22,970 acres designated in Florida (5 counties) and South Carolina (3 counties) for the frosted flatwoods salamander in 2009; 4,453 acres in Florida (6 counties) and Georgia (2 counties) designated for the reticulated flatwoods salamander in 2009

RECOVERY PLAN: None

RANGE: The frosted flatwoods salamander's range includes parts of the States of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, east of the Apalachicola-Flint Rivers. The reticulated flatwoods salamander is restricted to the northern coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico and its historical range included parts of southern Alabama, north Florida, and Georgia, west of the Apalachicola-Flint Rivers.

THREATS: Habitat destruction by urban and agricultural development, habitat degradation due to fire suppression and incompatible silvicultural practices, habitat fragmentation, drought, off-road vehicle use, and introduced diseases. Much of the recent declines can, at least in part be attributed to drought and incompatible fire management, with prescribed burns being conducted with improper frequency or during the wrong season for the flatwoods salamanders.

POPULATION TREND: Prior to the revised listing in 2009, the frosted flatwoods salamander is assumed to be extirpated from historically documented sites  in at least 16 counties in Georgia, four counties in Florida, and two counties in South Carolina. At that time the frosted flatwoods salamander was known to occur in 25 populations, but breeding has not been documented in at least nine of these populations in over a decade. Recent surveys confirm that the frosted flatwoods salamander is likely extinct in peninsular Florida. Even surveys conducted in the remaining stronghold of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and Apalachicola National Forest, during the wet winter of 2014, indicate marked declines for this species and possible local population extinction.

Between the early 1990s and the 2009 listing, at least four reticulated flatwoods populations were lost. Seventy percent of the 20 populations thought to be extant in 2009 have only one breeding pond and thus remain extremely vulnerable. In recent years, this species has not been found on the western portions of its stronghold of Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field in Florida, indicating that there may be local population extinction. This species has not been seen in Alabama since 1981 and is thought to be extirpated in that state. 

Reticulated flatwoods salamander by Jeromi Heffner/USGS