A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California

2004 Additions

observation link

The following links lead to pages which include many of the new pictures and pages I have put up so far in 2004, listed by the month when they were added, with the most current month on top. Some of my favorite additions are preceeded by an asterisk. My apologies to anyone whose pictures I forgot to list. Here's a list of new additions for last year: 2003.


There is a new section on Pacific Northwest herps. This section is not as in-depth as the California section, but there are lots of pictures of herps from Oregon and Washington.


I made a quick-find index to the Stebbins Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. It's a PDF file that you print out, cut and stick on your book. A lot of birding field guides have them, because birders usually need to get to the info a lot faster than herpers. After months of working on it I was inpired to finish it after a three week road trip where I was constantly looking up information and it took forever. I thought somebody else might find it useful.

Dick Bartlett donated a couple of pictures of a snake rarely seen in California. I don't remember seeing any pictures of one either:
*Masticophis fuliginosus - Baja California Coachwhip


William Flaxington has donated pictures of several herps he found in September in Arizona and California:
*Xenopus laevis - African Clawed Frog
Kinosternon sonoriense
- Sonoran Mud Turtle
Bufo alvarius
- Sonoran Desert Toad
*Rana yavapaiensis
- Lowland Leopard Frog

Ambystoma californiense - California Tiger Salamander larvae along with a
Rana aurora draytonii - California Red-legged frog tadpole

New photos from animals found in one day and night in central Washington:
*Rana pipiens -
Northern Leopard Frog
*Bufo woodhousii woodhousii -
Rocky Mountain (Woodhouse's) Toad
Spea intermontana
- Great Basin Spadefoot
Rana catesbeiana - Bullfrog
Contia tenuis
- Sharp-tailed snake
Uta stansburiana
- Sideblotched Lizard

Due to the many emails I get asking for help identifying snakes and lizards found in California (most turn out to be kingsnakes and gophersnakes, and alligator lizards) the identification pages have been revised and expanded. They're not perfect, but I hope they're getting better. It's also interesting seeing all of the species one one page.


I photographed these amphibians high in the Cascades mountains in Washington:
*Rana cascadae -
Cascades Frog
Ambystoma gracile
- Northwestern Salamander

Lampropeltis zonata multicincta
- Sierra Mountain Kingsnsake

Carl Brune donated a nice shot of this snake and its habitat:
Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus -
Northern Mohave rattlesnake

Will Flaxington donated some great shots of this spadefoot and its habitat that he found during August rains in extreme southeast California:
*Scaphiopus couchii-
Couch's Spadefoot

Guntram Deichsel from Germany gave me advice on finding some introduced Podarcis in Canada, and a few pictures from California, including:
Crotaphytus bicinctores - Mojave Collared lizard.
Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia - San Francisco Gartersnake
Uta stansburiana elegans - California side-blotched lizard


I finally got around to photographing a California specimen of this rattlesnake found up in the far northeast desert.
*Crotalus oreganus lutosus - Great Basin Rattlesnake. Brad Alexander also donated some much better pictures of his own from southern Nevada.

In both NorCal and southern Oregon I finally found some examples of this intergrade gartersnake.
*Thamnophis elegans intergrade (biscutatus)- Klamath Gartersnake

Dick Bartlett contributed excellent pictures of these much-needed species:
Salvadora hexalepis hexalepis- Desert Patch-nosed snake
Rhinocheilus lecontei leconetei-
Western Long-nosed snake
Tantilla planiceps -
California Black-headed snake
Pelamis platurus
- Yellow-bellied Sea snake
Coleonyx switaki -
Barefoot Gecko. Anish Yelekar donated some nice pics of this lizard, too.
Aspidoscelis hyperythra beldingi -
Orange-throated whiptail

I borrowed a few more pictures from William Flaxington, including:
Charina umbratica - Southern rubber boa
Crotalus atrox - Western Diamondback (from California)
Sceloporus magister uniformis - Yellow-backed spiny lizard


An amazingly successful trip throughout California and the Southwest with herping icon Dick Bartlett produced
dozens of California species, including some that are rarely observed. Too many to list, but here are most of them.

*Batrachoseps campi - Inyo Mountains Slender Salamander
Batrachoseps robustus - Kern Plateau Slender Salamander
Aneides flavipunctatus flavipunctatus - Speckled Black salamander
*Aneides vagrans -
Wandering salamander
Ambystoma macrodactylum sigillatum
- Southern Long-toed salamander
Dicamptodon tenebrosus - Coastal Giant Salamander

Arizona elegans eburnata - Glossy snake
Chionactis occipitalis occipitalis - Mojave Shovel-nosed Snake
Chionactis occipitalis talpina -
Nevada Shovel-nosed Snake
*Tantilla hobartsmithi -
Smith's Blackheaded Snake
Phyllorhynchus decurtatus -
Spotted Leaf-nosed Snake
*Pituophis catenifer pumilis -
Santa Cruz Island Gophersnake
Masticophis flagellum piceus -
Red Coachwhip
Lampropeltis getula californiae -
California Kingsnake
Crotalus ruber
- Red-diamond rattlesnake
Hypsiglena torchata deserticola - Desert Nightsnake
Leptotyphlops humilis cahuilae - Desert Threadsnake
Leptotyphlops humilis humilis
- Southwestern Threadsake
Trimorphodon biscutatus lyrophanes - Baja California Lyresnake
*Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia -
San Francisco gartersnake
Thamnophis gigas -
Giant Gartersnake
Thamnophis elegans elegans -
Mountain Gartersnake
*Thamnophis elegans terrestris - Coast gartersnake
Thamnophis couchii -
Sierra Gartersnake
Thamnophis sirtlis infernalis
- California Red-sided gartersnake

Mitch Mulks let us photograph some of his beautiful lab animals:
Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra - San Bernardino Mountain kingsnake
Lampropeltis zonata zonata -
St. Helena Mountain. Kingsnake
Lampropeltis zonata multifasciata
- Coast Mountain kingsnakt

*Bufo canorus - Yosemite toad
Rana aurora draytonii -
California red-legged frog
Rana boylii -
Foothill Yellow-legged frog
*Rana muscosa -
Mountain Yellow-legged frog
*Rana yavapaiensis -
Lowland Leopard Frog

Chris Gruenwald donated some nice pictures of
Bufo californicus - Arroyo toad
Spea hammondii - Western Spadefoot

*Elgaria panamintina -
Panamint Alligator Lizard
Elgaria coerulea .palmeri -
Sierra Alligator Lizard
Eumeces gilberti rubricaudatus -
Western Red-tailed skink
Elgaria coerulea shastensis -
Shasta Alligator Lizard
*Coleonyx variegatus abbotti -
San Diego Banded Gecko
*Gambelia copei -
Cope's Leopard Lizard
Heloderma suspectum cinctum -
Banded Gila Monster
*Phyllodactylus nocticolus -
Peninsula Leaf-toed Gecko
Sceloporus magister transvesrus -
Barred Spiny Lizard
Sceloporus orcutti -
Granite Spiny Lizard
*Xantusia henshawi -
Granite Night Lizard
Xantusia vigilis vigilis -
Desert Night Lizard
*Xantusia riversiana reticulata -
San Clemente Night Lizard
Crotaphytus vestigium - Baja California Black-collared lizard
Uma inornata -
Coachella Valley Fringe-toed Lizard

Kinosternon sonoriense sonoriense -
Sonoran Mud turtle
Actinemys marmorata marmorata -
Northern Pacific pond turtle


Jeremiah Easter and I spent a week searching for Gartersnakes and other herps in Northern California
with outstanding results, including variety of beautiful gartersnake species and morphs, and a couple of
herps more-commonly found farther north - the Northwestern gartersnake and the Northwestern alligator lizard.

Coluber mormon
- Western Yellow-bellied Racer
Diadophis pulchellus occidentalis - Northwestern ring-necked snake
*Thamnophis elegans terrestris - Coast gartersnake
*Thamnophis atratus zaxanthus -
Diablo gartersnake
*Thamnophis atratus hydrophilus -
Oregon Garter Snake
*Thamnophis ordinoides -
Northwestern gartersnake
Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi -
Valley Gartersnake
*Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia -
San Francisco gartersnake
Thamnophis sirtlis infernalis -
California Red-sided gartersnake
*Thamnophis gigas -
Giant Gartersnake

*Elgaria coerulea.principis - Northwestern Alligator Lizard
Elgaria coerulea coerulea - San Francisco Alligator lizard
Elgaria coerulea shastensis -
Shasta Alligator Lizard
Eumeces skiltonianus skiltonianus
- Skilton's Skink

Bufo boreas boreas - Boreal toad
Rana aurora aurora
- Northern Red-legged frog

Actinemys marmorata marmorata - Northwestern pond turtle

Ensatina eschscholtzii picta - Painted ensatina
Plethodon elongatus -
Del Norte Salamander
Batrachoseps attenuatus
- California Slender Salamander

Ed Pirog sent me some nice pics of rarely seen San Diego county animals:
*Gambelia copei - Cope's Leopard Lizard
Salvadora hexalepis virgultea - Coast Patch-noses snake


Tim Burkhardt and I found some interesting herps in the Siskiyou mountains, and I found my first California
example of the Oregon alligator lizard there, also.I also got pics of a few species of slender salamanders,
including a number of comparisons of sympatric species. Brad Alexander and I had a very fun day in the southern
Sierras during a freak March heatwave, finding 7 species of snakes, mostly still in their wintering mode.
Joe Cirone and Steven Boone helped me get photographs of some herps found in the Morro Bay area, including
some beautiful Jackson's Chameleons, a coast horned lizard, a Monterey ring-neck snake, and an example of a
dusky legless lizard, which was not as dark as I had imagined.

Aneides flavipunctatus flavipunctatus - Speckled black salamander
Batrachoseps gregarius - Gregarious slender salamander
Batrachoseps kawia -
Sequoia slender salamander
Batrachoseps major major-
Garden slender salamander
Batrachoseps relictus -
Relictual slender salamander
Batrachoseps nigriventris -
Black-bellied slender salamander
*Hydromantes shastae -
Shasta salamander
Plethodon stormi -
Siskiyou Mountains salamander
*Taricha granulosa
- Rough-skinned newt

William Flaxington donated a great picture of a San Gabriel mountains slender salamander and a black-bellied
slender salamander that he found under the same rock in the San Gabriel mountains, and one of the San Simeon slender salamander.
*Batrachoseps gabrieli - San Gabriel Mountains slender salamander
Batrachoseps incognitus - San Simeon Slender salamander

*Diadophis punctatus vandenburghii - Monterey Ring-necked snake
Crotalus oreganus oreganus -
Northern Pacific rattlesnake
Masticophis lateralis lateralis-
Chaparral Striped Whipsnake
Charina bottae -
Rubber Boa
Thamnophis couchii -
Sierra Gartersnake

*Elgaria multicarinata scincicauda -
Oregon Alligator Lizard
Anniella pulchra -
California Legless Lizard
Phrynosoma coronatum -
Coast Horned Lizard
*Chameleo jacksonii
- Jackson's Chameleon

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