Tiger Salamander's Deformed Leg

adult tiger salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum

Deformed hind limb seen on adult female tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) during the 2009 breeding season in Southeastern Michigan. Both anthropogenic disturbances and natural environmental variation during the larval stage can disrupt salamander development and cause amphibian leg deformities like this. Disruptions during the larval stage from anthropogenic pollutants can also prevent normal development of reproductive organs in amphibians, resulting in amphibians that cannot reproduce. Despite the deformed hind limb, the female salamander photographed here seemed healthy and appeared full of eggs. Hopefully she produced plenty of offspring this year!

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All text and photographs Michael F. Benard
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Some more pages on herps and natural history:
Salamander Image Gallery Snake Image Gallery Snake Image Gallery
Coloring page of snakes frog mating with salamander Pacific Chorus Frog Natural History
Water bug with limpet snails Snake eats frog Redback Salamander Mother with Eggs