Adults are aproximately 2.24 inches long (5.7 cm) from snout to vent length.
Similar in appearance to and closely related to P. elongatus and P. stormi.
A medium-sized salamander, more robust with a wider head and longer limbs than P. elongatus and P. stormi.
17 costal grooves with 2.5 - 3.5 intercostal folds between adpressed limbs.
The tail is slightly more than 80% of the snout to vent length (compared to 85 - 90% for P. elongatus and P. stormi.)
Color and Pattern
The sides of the body are chocolate brown, with brown and black pigmentation.
The upper back and head are distinguished from the sides with a brown and bronze dorsal stripe, which extends from the head to the tail tip.
White and yellow flecks cover most of the body, and are concentrated on the sides and limbs.
The venter is mottled, with light gray patches on a dark gray to purplish background, and white flecking, especially on the throat.
Eyes are black with varying amounts of gold flecking on the upper and lower surface.
Juveniles have two orange to reddish-brown stripes extending from just behind the eyes to the tail.
Just below the vent region the stripes fuse into a single stripe.
The sides of the stripes are black with the sides of the body dark brown.
Life History and Behavior
A member of family Plethodontidae, the Plethodontid or Lungless Salamanders.
Plethodontid salamanders do not breathe through lungs. They conduct respiration through their skin and the tissues lining their mouth. This requires them to live in damp environments on land and to move about on the ground only during times of high humidity. (Plethodontid salamanders native to California do not inhabit streams or bodies of water but they are capable of surviving for a short time if they fall into water.)
Plethodontid salamanders are also distinguished by their naso-labial grooves, which are vertical slits between the nostrils and upper lip that are lined with glands associated with chemoreception.
All Plethodontid Salamanders native to California lay eggs in moist places on land.
The young develop in the egg and hatch directly into a tiny terrestrial salamander with the same body form as an adult.
(They do not hatch in the water and begin their lives as tiny swimming larvae breathing through gills like some other types of salamanders.)
Little is known about this species.
Behavior is presumed to be similar to P. stormi and P. elongatus: active on rainy or wet nights.
Activity period is probably limited to late winter and early spring, and possibly early fall, due to the summer dryness and winter freezing of the habitat.
Diet and Feeding
Little is known about the diet of this species.
The diets of the related allopatric species P. elongatus and P. stormi consist primarily of small invertebrates, including spiders, mites, beetles, and moths.
Little is known about the breeding behavior of this species.
Reproduction is terrestrial.
If breeding in P. asupak is similar to the related allopatric 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.
Females lay eggs.
Young develop completely in the egg, hatch fully formed and probably remain underground until the following spring.
Associated with rocky forested areas, especially thick moss-covered talus.
Endemic to California.
Found in a very small area of the Siskiyou Mountains in extreme northern Siskiyou county near the confluence of the Klamath and Scott Rivers.
This range is only a few miles east of the range of P. stormi.
The elevation of the known range is aprox. 1500 - 2000 ft. (460 - 610 m).
Notes on Taxonomy
Described in 2005.
Closely related to, but determined to be morphologically and genetically distinct enough from closely-occurring P. elongatus and P. stormi, to be given full species status.
Alternate and Previous Names (Synonyms)
Before being separated as a unique species in 2005, this species would have been know as either
Plethodon stormi - Siskiyou Mountains Salamander or Plethodon elongatus - Del Norte Salamander
Herpetologica, 61(2), 2005, 158–177 NEWLY DISCOVERED POPULATIONS OF SALAMANDERS FROM SISKIYOU COUNTY CALIFORNIA REPRESENT A SPECIES DISTINCT FROM PLETHODON STORMI
Louise S. Mead 1,5,6, David R. Clayton 2, Richard S. Naumann 3, Deanna H. Olson 3, and Michael E. Pfrender 4
1Department of Zoology, 3029 Cordley Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
2U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Roseburg Field Office, 2900 NW Stewart Parkway, Roseburg, OR 97470, USA
3USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, 3200 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
4Department of Biology, Utah State University, 5305 Old Main Hill road, Logan, UT 84322, USA
Jones, Lawrence L. C. , William P. Leonard, Deanna H. Olson, editors. Amphibians of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle Audubon Society, 2005. (This book has photos and a description.)
Stebbins, Robert C., and McGinnis, Samuel M. Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of California: Revised Edition (California Natural History Guides) University of California Press, 2012.
Stebbins, Robert C. California Amphibians and Reptiles. The University of California Press, 1972.
Flaxington, William C. Amphibians and Reptiles of California: Field Observations, Distribution, and Natural History. Fieldnotes Press, Anaheim, California, 2021.
Before its discovery, P. asupak was included with P. stormi or P. elongatus, which are described in the books below:
Samuel M. McGinnis and Robert C. Stebbins. Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles & Amphibians. 4th Edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2018.
Stebbins, Robert C. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. 3rd Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003.
Behler, John L., and F. Wayne King. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.
Powell, Robert., Joseph T. Collins, and Errol D. Hooper Jr. A Key to Amphibians and Reptiles of the Continental United States and Canada. The University Press of Kansas, 1998.
Bartlett, R. D. & Patricia P. Bartlett. Guide and Reference to the Amphibians of Western North America (North of Mexico) and Hawaii. University Press of Florida, 2009.
Bishop, Sherman C. Handbook of Salamanders. Cornell University Press, 1943.
Lannoo, Michael (Editor). Amphibian Declines: The Conservation Status of United States Species. University of California Press, June 2005.
Petranka, James W. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution, 1998.
The following conservation status listings for this animal are taken from the October 2021 California "Special Animals List" and the October 2021 "State and Federally Listed Endangered and Threatened Animals of California" list, both of which are produced by multiple agencies and available here: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Data/CNDDB/Plants-and-Animals. You can check the link to see if there are more recent lists.
If no status is listed here, the animal is not included on either list. This most likely indicates that there are no serious conservation concerns for the animal. To find out more about an animal's status you can go to the NatureServe and IUCN websites to check their rankings.
Special Animals List Notes:
1) Newly described species from what was part of the range of Plethodon stormi (Mead et al. 2005).
2) Since this newly described species was formerly considered to be a subpopulation of Plethodon stormi, and since Plethodon stormi is listed as Threatened under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), Plethodon asupak retains the designation as a Threatened species under CESA (Calif. Regulatory Notice Register, No. 21-Z, p.916, 25 May 2007).
NatureServe Global Ranking
Critically Imperiled - Imperiled
NatureServe State Ranking
Critically Imperiled - Imperiled
U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA)
California Endangered Species Act (CESA)
Listed as Threatened 6/27/1971
As recognized by the FGC, the Scott Bar salamander is currently protected under the CESA as a sub-population of the Siskiyou Mountains salamander (Plethodon stormi ) (Calif. Regulatory Notice Register, No. 21-Z, p. 916, 20070525).