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North Carolina State Salamander

Marbled Salamander Ambystoma opacum Adopted: ADOPTIONDATE
North Carolina state salamander
North Carolina State Salamander: Marbled Salamander
Photographs for purchase

The marbled salamander became the official state salamander of the State or North Carolina when Governor Pat McCrory signed mega-symbol House Bill No. 830 on June 26, 2013.

The five other symbols made official by mega-symbol House Bill No. 830 included:


SESSION LAW 2013-189

AN ACT to adopt an official state fossil, frog, Salamander, marsupial, folk art, and art medium.

Whereas, some of North Carolina's official State symbols have been suggested by the State's school children after they have had history, science, social studies, or geography lessons related to North Carolina; and

Whereas, this year some of the suggestions range from the adoption of an official fossil to an official frog; and

Whereas, the State of North Carolina has a number of unique official symbols but does not have an official fossil, frog, salamander, marsupial, folk art, or art medium; and

Whereas, the megalodon shark is an extinct shark species that lived over 1.5 million years ago; and

Whereas, the megalodon shark may have reached over 40 feet in length and weighed up to 100 tons; and

Whereas, the megalodon shark had serrated, heart-shaped teeth that may have grown to over seven inches in length; and

Whereas, fossilized teeth of the megalodon shark have been found in North Carolina and throughout the world; and

Whereas, North Carolina and the Southeast region of the United States lead the world in amphibian diversity; and

Whereas, the pine barrens tree frog can be found in the Sandhills and Coastal Plain regions of North Carolina; and

Whereas, the pine barrens tree frog has been considered one of the most striking and beautiful frogs in the Southeast region of the United States; and

Whereas, the pine barrens tree frog by name reflects one of North Carolina's signature trees and ecosystems that have been a vital part of the State's economic, cultural, and natural history since colonial times; and

Whereas, North Carolina also leads the nation and world in salamander diversity, most notably in our Appalachian Mountains; and

Whereas, the marbled salamander is found throughout the State and is unique in that it is a charismatic, striking, chunky-bodied, fossorial amphibian, of which no two are exactly alike in color pattern; and

Whereas, according the North Carolina Wildlife Commission's 2005 North Carolina Wildlife Action Plan, the pine barrens tree frog and the marbled salamander have been identified as priority species for population monitoring and conservation in North Carolina; and

Whereas, the Virginia opossum is native to North Carolina and is the only marsupial found in North America; the female carries its underdeveloped young in a pouch until they are capable of living independently, similar to a kangaroo; and

Whereas, the Virginia opossum is one of the oldest and most primitive species of mammal found in North America; and

Whereas, the Virginia opossum is about the size of a large house cat with a triangular head; a long pointed nose; dark eyes; a long, scaly, prehensile tail; and short, black, leathery ears; and

Whereas, the Virginia opossum is nocturnal and lives in a wide variety of habitats, including deciduous forests, open woods, and farmland but prefers wet areas such as marshes, swamps, and streams; and

Whereas, at age 65, Vollis Simpson, a self-taught folk artist, began making giant windmills known as "whirligigs" at his home in Wilson, North Carolina; and

Whereas, Mr. Simpson's whirligigs have been exhibited at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, and at other locations, including New York, California, Canada, and England; and

Whereas, Mr. Simpson and details of his artwork have been featured in many national magazines and in several books; and

Whereas, the City of Wilson is developing the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park to display a large collection of these whirligigs in historic downtown, which will be a one‑of‑a‑kind destination for visitors; and

Whereas, North Carolina's clay-rich soil has contributed to the State's pottery heritage; and

Whereas, the use of clay has grown from the State's early Native Americans making mostly utilitarian wares and European settlers continuing the traditions of their ancestors to today's potters designing pottery with utilitarian and aesthetic elements; and

Whereas, the pottery tradition continues to thrive in North Carolina, especially in the Seagrove area, which includes parts of Chatham, Lee, Moore, Montgomery, and Randolph Counties; and

Whereas, clay continues to be an important art medium contributing to the State's cultural, social, and economic prosperity; Now, therefore,

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1. Chapter 145 of the General Statutes is amended by adding the following new sections to read:

§ 145-41. State fossil.

The fossilized teeth of the megalodon shark is adopted as the official fossil of the State of North Carolina.

"§ 145-42. State frog.

The pine barrens tree frog (Hyla andersonii) is adopted as the official frog of the State of North Carolina.

"§ 145-43. State salamander.

The marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum) is adopted as the official salamander of the State of North Carolina.

"§ 145-44. State marsupial.

The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is adopted as the official marsupial of the State of North Carolina.

"§ 145-45. State folk art.

The whirligigs created by Vollis Simpson are adopted as the official folk art of the State of North Carolina.

"§ 145-46. State art medium.

Clay is adopted as the official art medium of the State of North Carolina."

SECTION 2. This act is effective when it becomes law.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 20th day of June, 2013.

s/ Philip E. Berger
President Pro Tempore of the Senate

s/ Thom Tillis
Speaker of the House of Representatives

s/ Pat McCrory

Approved 4:24 p.m. this 26th day of June, 2013


Avila, Marilyn, Susan Martin, Pat McElraft, and Roger West. "House Bill 830 / S.L. 2013-189." North Carolina General Assembly. The State of North Carolina, 06 Jun 2013. Web. 20 Jul 2013.

Additional Information

North Carolina state salamander
North Carolina State Salamander: Marbled Salamander
Photographs for purchase

Marbled Salamander: Amphibians and Reptiles of North Carolina: Grant Connette and Evan Eskew, Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina.

Ambystoma opacum (Marbled Salamander): The University of Michigan Museum of Zoology: Animal Diversity Web.

Ambystoma opacum (Marbled Salamander): The Encyclopedia of Life: An initative started with seed funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur and Alfred P. Sloan Foundations. The five original EOL cornerstone institutions include the Field Museum, Harvard University, the Marine Biological Laboratory, Missouri Botanical Garden and the Smithsonian Institution.

Ambystoma opacum - (Gravenhorst, 1807), Marbled Salamander: A network connecting science with conservation - NatureServe Explorer: An Online Encyclopedia of Life.

Ambystoma opacum (Gravenhorst, 1807): Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Here you will find authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

State amphibians: Complete list of official state amphibians from NETSTATE.COM

More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official North Carolina state symbols from NETSTATE.COM.

What is an Amphibian? (The Science of Living Things) , by Bobbie Kalman and Jacqueline Langille, 32 pages, Crabtree Publishing Company (2000). Reading level: Ages 9-12. The large, full-color photographs and illustrations that pepper every page of these books will catch the eye of browsers but it is the informative, easy-to-read texts that will hold their interest.

Peterson First Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians , by Robert C. Stebbins, Joseph T. Collins and Roger Conant. Edited by Roger Tory Peterson. 128 pages, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 15, 1999). Reading level: Ages 11+. From mudpuppies to rattlesnakes, this fascinating guide for young nature lovers describes the habits and habitats of these secretive and sometimes bizarre animals, and includes tips on how to catch and care for frogs, snakes, turtles, lizards, salamanders, and toads.

A Field Guide to Reptiles & Amphibians of Eastern & Central North America

A Field Guide to Reptiles & Amphibians of Eastern & Central North America, by Roger Conant and Joseph T. Collins, 640 pages, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Fourth Edition edition (May 15, 1998). This newly designed field guides features detailed descriptions of 595 species and subspecies. The 656 full-color illustrations and 384 drawings show key details for accurate identification. More than 100 color photographs and 333 color photographs and 333 color distribution maps accompany the species descriptions.

Firefly Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians, edited by Tim Halliday and Kraig Adler, 240 pages, Firefly Books (September 7, 2002). With lush color photographs and lavishly detailed illustrations, this encyclopedia presents a striking abundance of information at a glance. Also noteworthy is the scholarly text, a comprehensive overview of these frequently studied phyla.

Reptiles & Amphibians for Dummies, by Patricia Bartlett, 360 pages, For Dummies; 1st edition (June 1, 2003) This essential guide tells you what you must know before you own a reptile or amphibian, with authoritative advice on everything from proper caging and feeding to health care, socializing, transporting, and more. You'll find out about the different species, normal and abnormal behavior, the basics of breeding, and complying with laws.