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Del Norte Salamander - Plethodon elongatus

Van Denburgh, 1916
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Del Norte Salamander California range mapRange in California: Red

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Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander
  Adult, Del Norte County  
Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander
Adult with juvenile, Del Norte County Adult, Smith River, Del Norte County
Del Norte Salamander
Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander
  Red-backed adult, Humboldt County  
Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander
Juvenile, Del Norte County Juvenile, Del Norte County Juvenile, Smith River, Del Norte County
Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander
Adult, South Fork Smith River, Del Norte County Adult, Del Norte County
Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander
Adult from coastal redwood forest, Del Norte County © Alan Barron Juvenile, Del Norte County
© Alan Barron
Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander
Adult, Patrick's Creek, Del Norte County
© Alan Barron
Adult, Crescent City, Del Norte County
© Alan Barron
Adult, Del Norte County
© Alan Barron
Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander
Adult, Patrick's Creek, Del Norte County
© Alan Barron
Adult, Klamath River, Del Norte County © Alan Barron
Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander
Juvenile, 2,500 ft., Del Norte County © Alan Barron Juveniles, Klamath River, Del Norte County © Alan Barron
  Del Norte Salamander  
  Adult, Del Norte County

 
Habitat
del norte salamander habitat Del Norte Salamander Habitat Del Norte Salamander Habitat
Habitat, small forest creek,
Del Norte County
Habitat, redwood forest,
Del Norte County
Habitat, creek in redwood forest,
Del Norte County
Del Norte Salamander Habitat Del Norte Salamander Habitat Del Norte Salamander Habitat
Habitat, Smith River, Del Norte County Habitat, rocky talus, Del Norte County
Habitat, Del Norte County
Del Norte Salamander Habitat Del Norte Salamander Habitat  
Habitat, Humboldt County

Habitat, redwood forest,
Del Norte County

 
Short Videos
Del Norte Salamander Del Norte Salamander  
Watch this salamander walk and get an overview of its habitat.

Several Del Norte Salamanders run away and hide in typical salamander style.  
Description

Size
Adults are 2 3/8 - 3 inches long (6 - 7.6 cm) from snout to vent, and 4 1/3 - 6 inches (11 - 15 cm) in total length.
Appearance
A slender, elongated  salamander with short limbs, nasolabial grooves, and usually 18 costal grooves with 5-6 intercostal folds between adpressed limbs. Toes are short and slightly webbed. Color is solid dark brown or black with an even-edged reddish brown dorsal stripe extending from the head to the tail tip. Often, especially with older animals, this stripe is missing and the body is solid brown or black. The belly is dark gray with light gray flecks. Juveniles resemble adults, but have more conspicuous dorsal stripes.
Behavior and Natural History
A member of family Plethodontidae, the Plethodontid or Lungless Salamanders.
Lungless Salamanders breathe through their skin which requires them to live in damp environments on land and to move about on the ground only during times of high humidity. (In California, they do not inhabit streams or bodies of water, but they are capable of surviving for some time if they fall into water.)
Lungless salamanders are distinguished by their naso-labial grooves, which are vertical slits between the nostrils and upper lip that are lined with glands used in chemoreception. All California Lungless Salamanders lay eggs in moist places on land. The young hatch from the egg 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, as occurs with other types of salamanders.)Terrestrial. Active on rainy or wet nights, fall through spring. Inactive in cold weather. Reported as inactive in summer, retreating far underground, but I have found them in shaded areas under wet streamside rocks in the dry summer months in coastal redwood forest.
Recapture studies have shown that P. elongatus moves very little in a single year - staying within a 7.5 square meter area.

Del Norte Salamanders are sit-and-wait predators, quickly jumping from a hiding spot to grab their prey.
Diet
Eats small invertebrates, including termites, mites, beetles, and springtails.
Reproduction and Young
Not much is known about the breeding behavior of this species. Breeding is terrestrial, and probably occurs in fall and spring. Females most likely lay eggs in underground nests, probably under rocky talus, in spring or early summer and brood them until fall. Young hatch fully formed and typically remain underground until the following spring. Eggs have been found at the base of a redwood fence post. There were 10 eggs in a grape-like cluster. Two adult females were found with 10 to 11 eggs. (Stebbins.) It is presumed that females brood their eggs.
Range
Found along the coast in far northwest California from near Orick, Humboldt County, east to near the Seiad Valley, Sisiyou county and Salyer, Trinity County, and north into southwestern Oregon where they have been found inland along West Cow Creek in Douglas County. (Photo.)
Habitat
Terrestrial, strongly associated with moist talus in humid shaded and closed-canopy coastal forests of mixed hardwoods and conifers, but also found in rock rubble of old riverbeds, and under bark and logs on forest floor, usually in rocky areas. Especially attracted to older forests.
Taxonomic Notes
Some herpetologists name this salamander P. e. elongatus, a subspecies of P. elongatus, making the interior form, the Siskiyou Mountains Salamander, P. e. stormi. Others recognize P. stormi as a separate species as we do here.

Genetic diversity has been found to be highest in inland and southern populations. Recent genetics studies have determined that the Del Norte Salamander consists of two lineages at the southern end of its range which are different from populations north of Humboldt County. These lineages might be described as new species in the near future. (Hartwell, et. al, 2005.)
Conservation Issues  (Conservation Status)
A California Species of Special Concern. May be in decline in areas which have been logged, especially at locations inland from the coast and at the southern edge of their range, where populations are more fragmented, making them more vulnerable to extirpation.
Taxonomy
Family Plethodontidae Lungless Salamanders Gray, 1850
Genus Plethodon Woodland Salamanders Tschudi, 1838
Species


elongatus Del Norte Salamander Van Denburgh, 1916
Original Description
Van Denburgh, 1916 - Proc. California Acad. Sci., Ser. 4, Vol. 6, No. 7, p. 216

from Original Description Citations for the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America © Ellin Beltz

Meaning of the Scientific Name
Plethodon: Greek - fullness or full of & teeth , refers to the number of vomerine & pre-vomerine teeth.
elongatus: Latin - slender, attenuated.

from Scientific and Common Names of the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America - Explained © Ellin Beltz

Alternate Names
Plethodon elongatus elongatus - Striped Del Norte Salamander

Similar Neighboring Salamanders
Plethodon stormi - Siskiyou Mountains Salamander
Plethodon dunni - Dunn's Salamander
Plethodon asupak - Scott Bar Salamander

More Information and References
California Department of Fish and Wildlife

AmphibiaWeb

Hartwell H. Welsh, Jr. - Jones, Lawrence L. C. , William P. Leonard, Deanna H. Olson, editors. Amphibians of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle Audubon Society, 2005.

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.

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.


Corkran, Charlotte & Chris Thoms. Amphibians of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Lone Pine Publishing, 1996.

Jones, Lawrence L. C. , William P. Leonard, Deanna H. Olson, editors. Amphibians of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle Audubon Society, 2005.

Leonard et. al. Amphibians of Washington and Oregon. Seattle Audubon Society, 1993.

Nussbaum, R. A., E. D. Brodie Jr., and R. M. Storm. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Pacific Northwest. Moscow, Idaho: University Press of Idaho, 1983.


Conservation Status

The following status listings come from the Special Animals List and the Endangered and Threatened Animals List which are published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.



Organization
Status Listing
U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) None
California Endangered Species Act (CESA) None
California Department of Fish and Wildlife DFG:SSC California Species of Special Concern
Bureau of Land Management None
USDA Forest Service None
 

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