Other Amphibian of the Week

California Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon ensatus)

california_giant_salamander
photo by William Flaxington
nearthreatened


Common Name: California Giant Salamander
Scientific Name: Dicamptodon ensatus
Family: Dicamptodontidae – Pacific Giant Salamander Family
Locations: United States – California
Size: 6.7 – 12 inches (17 – 30.48 cm) for terrestrial forms, 13 inches (33.02 cm) for aquatic

The California Giant Salamander is found in northwestern coastal forests of California with cold streams and ponds. They use these streams to breed during the spring with most of the egg laying in May. Breeding could also occur in the fall. Between 70 to 100 eggs are laid in the streams. Larvae salamanders can take up to 2 years to develop into terrestrial adults if they ever do. There has been observed neotenic populations of the California Giant Salamanders. These neotenic salamanders retain their larval characteristics such as their gills but are capable of reproduction. These guys are often larger than the terrestrial forms.

Arie van der Meijden

The California Giant Salamander is listed as as Near Threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The main threats to the survival of the salamander is the encroachment of humans on their small habitat. Their habitat is great for logging but logging is not good for the salamanders. Also towns are growing and need more land. They just build right over their habitat.

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