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Checklist of Amphibian Species and Identification Guide

Garden Slender Salamander, Batrachoseps major
Channel Islands Slender Salamander, Batrachoseps pacificus
Relictual Slender Salamander, Batrachoseps relictus

Desert Slender Salamander
Desert Slender Salamander
Garden Slender Salamander
Garden Slender Salamander
These three species of Slender Salamanders, genus Batrachoseps, are included in this account since the three were, until recently regarded as one species (Batrachoseps pacificus). Also, the Desert Slender Salamander has been considered a separate species (Batrachoseps aridus), but is regarded by some today to be a subspecies of the Garden Slender Salamander. Today these populations (see map) are classified as follows (according to the taxonomy presented in Crother 2000):
  • Garden Slender Salamander, Batrachoseps major
    • Desert Slender Salamander, Batrachoseps major aridus
    • Garden Slender Salamander, Batrachoseps major major
  • Relictual Slender Salamander, Batrachoseps relictus
  • Channel Islands Slender Salamander, Batrachoseps pacificus

Slender Salamanders can be distinguished from other species of Lungless Salamanders by the presence of only four toes on both the fore and hind feet. Other species of western salamanders have five toes on the hind feet. The 14 species of Batrachoseps are difficult to distinguish and one should rely heavily on geographic location to narrow down the possibilities - some new species have been identified by differences in their DNA, something of little use in the field!

The Garden Slender Salamander is Pale brown to reddish brown above, rarely with a band. Frequently with rust colored markings on the tail, snout and shoulders. Belly is light gray with darker speckles. The Desert Slender Salamander has a dark dorsum and belly, covered with many small flecks that can give the animal a pale appearance. Underside of the tail is flesh colored. This endangered pecies is only found in Hidden Palm Canyon and Guadalupe Canyon, in the northern slopes of the Santa Rosa Mountains, Riverside County, California, where it inhabits limestone seeps.

Slender Salamander Ranges

The photo below is of a Relictual Slender Salamander This species has a dorsal stripe of dark, reddish or yellowish brown on a dark background. Belly is dark gray. Relictual Slender Salamanders can be found up to 8000 feet in the Sierra Nevada.

Relictual Slender Salamander

The Channel Islands Slender Salamanders (not shown) is found on East Anacapa, Middle Anacapa, West Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel Islands, while the Garden Slender Salamander (B. m. major) is found on Santa Catalina, Coronados, and Todos Santos Islands.

The eggs of these species hatch directly into small terrestrial salamanders, skipping the aquatic larval stage.


Crother B.I. (ed.)  2000.  Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and 
     Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence 
     in Our Understanding.  SSAR Herpetological Circular 29. iii + 82 pp.

This publication may be purchased from the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR).

Notice:  All images contained hereafter are the property of the said photographer. They are not to be reproduced, copied, printed, stored, or distributed without written permission of the photographer.

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