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"S" is for Spotted Salamander

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"S" is for Spotted salamander. State amphibian. The spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) became the official state amphibian in June 1999. The designation resulted from the interest and activity of children in the third-grade class at Woodlands Heights Elementary School in Spartanburg. Students conducted research and a letter-writing campaign to get the amphibian adopted, enlisting support from scientists, public officials, and other third-graders in the state. The spotted salamander is a six-to-eight inch long cold-blooded amphibian marked by two rows of yellow or orange spots on its black or steel-gray back. The animal ranges from southeastern Canada throughout the eastern United States and is found across South Carolina. Spotted salamanders are used extensively in scientific research, such as medical studies of limb and tissue regeneration. And, scientists consider them important indicators of overall environmental health.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.