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Ambystomatidae Gray, 1850

Class: Amphibia > Order: Caudata > Family: Ambystomatidae
37 species

Ambystomina Gray, 1850, Cat. Spec. Amph. Coll. Brit. Mus., Batr. Grad.: 32. Type genus: Ambystoma Tschudi, 1838.

Siredontina Bonaparte, 1850, Conspect. Syst. Herpetol. Amph.: 1 p. Type genus: Siredon Wagler, 1830. Synonymy by implication of Boulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Grad. Batr. Apoda Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 38.

SiredontinaBonaparte, 1850, Conspect. Syst. Herpetol. Amph.: 1 p.

Ambystomidae Hallowell, 1856, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 8: 11. Type genus: Ambystoma Tschudi, 1838. Incorrect original spelling for Ambystomatidae; placed on the Official Index of Rejected and invalid Family Group names by Opinion 649, Anonymous, 1963, Bull. Zool. Nomencl., 20: 102–104.

Acholotida Stannius, 1856, Handb. Zootomie Wiebelthiere, 2: 4. Unavailable, by reason of not being based on a generic name, family-group name for Siredon (= Ambystoma).

AmbystominaeCope, 1859, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 11: 122.

AmblystomidaeCope, 1863, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 15: 54. Incorrect subsequent spelling.

Amblystomida — Knauer, 1878, Naturgesch. Lurche: 98. 

AmblystomatinaeBoulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Grad. Batr. Apoda Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 1, 31. Incorrect subsequent spelling.

AmblystomatidaeGarman, 1884, Bull. Essex Inst., 16: 37. Incorrect subsequent spelling.

AmbystomoideaNoble, 1931, Biol. Amph.: 471. Superfamily. Incorrect spelling. 

AmbystomatoideaTihen, 1958, Bull. Florida State Mus., Biol. Sci., 3: 1.

Ambystomatidae — Tihen, 1958, Bull. Florida State Mus., Biol. Sci., 3: 3. 

Ambystomatinae  Tihen, 1958, Bull. Florida State Mus., Biol. Sci., 3: 3. 

Dicamptodontinae Tihen, 1958, Bull. Florida State Mus., Biol. Sci., 3: 3. Type genus: Dicamptodon Strauch, 1870. Synonymy by Frost, Grant, Faivovich, Bain, Haas, Haddad, de Sá, Channing, Wilkinson, Donnellan, Raxworthy, Campbell, Blotto, Moler, Drewes, Nussbaum, Lynch, and Green, 2006, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 297: 174. See comment.

DicamptodontidaeEdwards, 1976, J. Morphol., 148: 325.

AmbystomatoidiaDubois, 2005, Alytes, 23: 19. Epifamily.

AmbystomatoidaeDubois and Raffaëlli, 2012, Alytes, 28: 77–161. Epifamily.

English Names

Blunt Nosed Salamanders (Fowler, 1907, Annu. Rep. N.J. State Mus. for 1906: 38).

Big Salamanders (Jordan, 1878, Man. Vert. North. U.S., Ed. 2: 194).

Mole Salamanders (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 26; Tilley, Highton, and Wake, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 13; Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 10; Tilley, Highton, and Wake, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 23).

Pacific Mole Salamanders (Dicamptodontidae [no longer recognized]: Halliday and Adler, 2002, New Encyclop. Rept. Amph.: 47).

Giant Salamanders (Dicamptodontidae [no longer recognized]: Stebbins, 2003, Field Guide W. Rept. Amph., Ed. 3: 157).

American Giant Salamanders (Dicamptodontidae [no longer recognized]: Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 28).

Distribution

Southern Canada and Alaska (USA) south through most of the USA to the southern edge of the Mexican Plateau.

Comment

See Petranka, 1998, Salamand. U.S. Canada: 35–129, 145–156, for detailed accounts and a key to the species of North America. Tihen, 1958, Bull. Florida State Mus., Biol. Sci., 3: 1, proposed Dicamptodontinae and Rhyacotritoninae as subfamilies of Ambystomatidae. Edwards, 1976, J. Morphol., 148: 319, suggested on the basis of spinal nerve patterns that Ambystomatidae as then recognized was not monophyletic and considered ambystomine ambystomatids to be more closely related to Plethodontidae than to Rhyacotriton and Dicamptodon; Edwards, 1976, J. Morphol., 148: 325, placed Rhyacotriton and Dicamptodon in Dicamptodontidae, an arrangement accepted by Estes, 1981, Handb. Palaeoherpetol., 2: 45. Milner, 1983, in Sims et al. (eds.), Evol. Time Space: 431–468, suggested that Dicamptodontinae and Rhyacotritoninae might not be inclusively monophyletic. Sever, 1992, J. Morphol., 212: 305–322, provided morphological evidence that Dicamptodon is the sister-taxon of Ambystomatidae rather than of Rhyacotriton and suggested that they be placed in separate families, although he did not formally propose names or diagnoses. Good and Wake, 1992, Univ. California Publ. Zool., 126: 13, recognized Rhyacotritonidae (including only Rhyacotriton) and argued on the basis of a phylogenetic analysis for the sister-group status of Dicamptodontidae (Dicamptodon) and Ambystomatidae (Ambystoma). Frost, Grant, Faivovich, Bain, Haas, Haddad, de Sá, Channing, Wilkinson, Donnellan, Raxworthy, Campbell, Blotto, Moler, Drewes, Nussbaum, Lynch, and Green, 2006, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 297: 174, returned Dicamptodon to Ambystomatidae because the rationale for removing Dicamptodon to a monotypic family had been rejected. The sister-taxon status of Ambystoma and Dicamptodon was confirmed by Roelants, Gower, Wilkinson, Loader, Biju, Guillaume, Moriau, and Bossuyt, 2007, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 104: 887–892. Vieites, Zhang, and Wake, 2009, in Hedges and Kumar (eds.), Timetree of Life: 365–368, also found Dicamptodon and Ambystoma to be sister taxa, but recognized Dicamptodontidae on the basis of divergence time from Ambystomatidae. Zhang and Wake, 2009, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 53: 492–508, also reported on molecular phylogenetics of salamanders based on mtDNA and provided an estimate of time since origin. See comment under Rhyacotritonidae. Pyron and Wiens, 2011, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 61: 543–583 (see comment in Amphibia record) confirmed the sister taxon status of Ambystoma and Dicamptodon and used the family-group names Ambystomatidae and Dicamptodontidae, following the AmphibiaWeb taxonomy at the time (see comment under "Higher taxonomy and progress" in the prefatory material of this catalogue). Zheng, Peng, Kuro-o, and Zeng, 2011, Mol. Biol. Evol., 28: 2521–2535, reported on the estimated time of origin of this taxon. Blackburn and Wake, 2011, In Zhang (ed.), Zootaxa, 3148: 39–55, briefly reviewed the taxonomic history of this taxon. Powell, Collins, and Hooper, 2011, Key Herpetofauna U.S. & Canada, 2nd Ed.: 8–9, provided a key to the species. Gao and Shubin, 2012, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA: 66–67, suggested on the basis of morphology that Dicampton is the sister taxon of Rhyacotriton, and distant from Ambystomatidae. Blackburn and Wake, 2011, In Zhang (ed.), Zootaxa, 3148: 39–55, argued to retain Dicamptodontidae because of its antiquity (younger than their subfamilies Necturinae and Proteinae and about the same age as the Onychodactylus-level dichotomy in Hynobiidae, which they declined to recognize), "significant biological differences" (e.g., the spinal nerve pattern shared with Rhyacotriton), and its significant fossil record, although Milner (Milner, 2000, in Heatwole and Carroll (ed.), Amph. Biol., 4) and Gao and Shubin (Gao and Shubin, 2012, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA) noted that all of these fossil taxa, except for Paleocene Dicamptodon (Naylor and Fox, 1993, Canad. J. Earth Sci., 30) are now considered enigmatic and of a uncertain taxonomic assignment. Blackburn and Wake, 2011, In Zhang (ed.), Zootaxa, 3148: 39–55, also erred in stating that Frost, Grant, Faivovich, Bain, Haas, Haddad, de Sá, Channing, Wilkinson, Donnellan, Raxworthy, Campbell, Blotto, Moler, Drewes, Nussbaum, Lynch, and Green, 2006, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 297: 174, regarded Dicamptontidae as a monotypic subfamily of Ambystomatidae when they did not recognize subfamilies at all, which would have been redundant with the subfamily names. Similarly the statement by Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept., 1(Amph.): 91, that Frost et al., 2006, recognized Dicamptodontidae is in error. Chen, Wang, Liu, Xie, and Jiang, 2011, Curr. Zool., Chengdu, 57: 785–805, on the basis of 11 protein-coding mtDNA genes, suggested that Ambystomatidae is the sister taxon of Rhyacotritonidae and together the sister of Sirenidae + Cryptobranchoidei, in which case the original taxonomy of Tihen, 1958, would remain optimal, although they did not include Dicamptodon or Proteidae in their analysis. Vitt and Caldwell, 2013, Herpetology, 4th Ed., provided a summary of life history, diagnosis, and taxonomy. 

Contained taxa (37 sp.):

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