A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California

Eggs of Terrestrial Salamanders Found in Calfornia


observation link

I don't have pictures of all of the eggs of amphibians native to California, but I will show those I do have here, in hope that it might make them easier to identify and compare with the eggs of other sympatric amphibians.

If you have pictures of eggs not shown here that you can positively identify and would like to contribute, please let me know, they will be very much appreciated.

For pictures and information about the salamanders, click on the name links.
These are eggs laid by salamanders on land. Other salamanders lay eggs in water. You can see these on the Aquatic Salamander Eggs page.

I have very few pictures of the eggs of terrestrial salamanders. Often little is known about the breeding behavior of terrestrial salamander species. It is presumed that the females lay their eggs on land underneath rocks or logs or inside logs where they are not easily discovered. Eggs are usually laid individually and are not surrounded with as much jelly as eggs that are laid in water. Most female salamanders remain with their eggs to protect them from predators. Young hatch from the eggs as miniature versions of adults.
Speckled Black Salamander - Aneides flavipunctatus flavipunctatus

Santa Cruz Black Salamander - Aneides flavipunctatus niger

Females probably lay from 8 - 25 eggs in moist cavities belowthe ground in July and August. Eggs are attached by peduncles.
Females stay with the eggs until they hatch.
Clouded Salamander - Aneides ferreus

In late June and July, females lay a clutch of 9 - 17 eggs in moist places on land, including decomposing logs, and possbly in the forest canopy (where brood sites of A. vagrans have been found.) Eggs have been found with a female attending them, with a male and female attending them, and with no adults in attendance.
Arboreal Salamander - Aneides lugubris

In late spring and early summer, females lay from 5 - 24 eggs in moist places, most commonly in decaying cavities of live oak trees, sometimes high off the ground, and also under rocks and other surface objects and inside logs, then remain with them, often coiled around them, until they hatch. Sometimes the eggs of several salamanders are found together in large masses.
  Arboreal Salamanders  
  These eggs were found in late July in Sonoma County, along with several aestivating Arboreal Salamanders.  
Wandering Salamander - Aneides vagrans

Females lay from 6 - 9 eggs in moist places on land in spring and early summer. Eggs have been found under the bark of a rotting Douglas fir log and at the base of a tree limb high up a tree.
Females probably stay with the eggs until they hatch.
Below is a series of pictures all © Spencer Riffle showing a female Wandering Salamander in Humboldt County brooding her eggs over a period of just over three months, when the eggs hatch and we can see the tiny hatchlings.
Click Here to see a larger view.
Wandering Salamander Wandering Salamander Wandering Salamander
Female with eggs - 7/9 Female with eggs - 7/10 Female with eggs - 7/16
Wandering Salamander Wandering Salamander Wandering Salamander
Female with eggs - 9/2 Female with eggs - 9/2 Female with eggs - 9/25
Eggs of Slender Salamanders, Genus Batrachoseps

Eggs are laid individually in groups and hidden inside or underneath surface objects where there is moisture.
They eggs below are probably similar to the eggs of all of the slender salamanders found in California.
California Slender Salamander - Batrachoseps attenuatus

Eggs are laid in October and November, shortly after the beginning of the fall rains. Clutch sizes of 4 - 13 eggs have been recorded. Females deposit eggs in moist areas under objects such as rocks and logs or underground. Several females may lay eggs in the same location creating a communal nest, but they apparently do not remain with the eggs. However, adult salamanders have been found at egg deposition sites.
Gregarius Slender Salamander - Batrachoseps gregarius
  Gregarious Slender Salamander eggs  
These Gregarius Slender salamanders were found underneath ground debris along with some Gregarius Slender salamander eggs.  As their name indicates, this species often forms communal nests, but the females typically leave the site after laying. Male and sub-adult salamanders will often still be found under the same cover as the eggs, which is probably what is seen here.
© 1998 Duncan Parks
Ensatina Eggs - Ensatina eschscholtzii

Below you can see both the eggs and the hatchlings as well as two females who are brooding their eggs.
The eggs of the two subspecies seen below should look the same as the eggs of every Ensatina subspecies.
Monterey Ensatinas
On August 3rd, Joe Garcia found these intergrade Monterey Ensatinas attending their eggs under a board underneath a
house in Monterey County.  Female Ensatinas stay with their eggs to protect them until they hatch. © Joe Garcia
Monterey Ensatina Monterey Ensatina
On September 19th, Joe returned to the crawl space, looked under the board, and found that most of
the eggs of one female had just hatched, with at least 10 hatchlings still next to the eggs. © Joe Garcia
Monterey Ensatinas Monterey Ensatinas Monterey Ensatinas
Two days later, all of the eggs of both females had hatched and the juveniles were still with the females. © Joe Garcia
  Sierra Nevada Ensatina  
  On August 2nd in Tulare County, Ricky Grubb photographed this adult Sierra Nevada Ensatina brooding approximately 10 eggs inside a rotting log of a fallen Giant Sequoia.  © Ricky Grubb  
Limestone Salamander - Hydromantes brunus

Females lay eggs most likely in deep moist talus or crevices in late spring.
Mount Lyell Salamander - Hydromantes platycephalus

Little is known about the breeding behavior of this species. Females presumably lay eggs in early summer.
Shasta Salamander - Hydromantes shastae

Females apparently lay eggs in moist limestone shelters in late summer and brood them until they hatch in late fall. 
Two clutches of 9 eggs were found in a cave by Gorman in 1956.
Scott Bar Salamander - Plethodon asupak

Siskiyou Mountains Salamander - Plethodon stormi

Little is known about the breeding habits of these species. If breeding is similar to that of the related species P. stormi, mating probably occurs in the spring, with females laying eggs in underground nests in spring or early summer and brooding them until fall.
Dunn's Salamander - Plethodon dunni

Females presumably lay and brood eggs underground in rocky habitats during spring and early summer, but this is not certain.
One egg mass consisting of nine eggs in a grape-like cluster was found in Oregon on July 6th, 1952.
Del Norte Salamander - Plethodon elongatus

Females lay eggs most likely in underground nests, probably under rocky talus, in spring or early summer and it is presumed that they brood them until they hatch in the fall. Eggs have been found at the base of a redwood fence post. There were 10 eggs in a grape-like cluster.

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