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A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California


Siskiyou Mountains Salamander - Plethodon stormi

Highton and Brame, 1965
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Siskiyou Mountains Salamander California Range MapRange in California: Red




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Siskiyou Mountains Salamander Siskiyou Mountains Salamander Siskiyou Mountains Salamander
Adult, Siskiyou County  Adult, Siskiyou County 
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Sub-adult, Siskiyou County Adult, Siskiyou County 
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  Adult, Siskiyou County   
  Siskiyou Mountains Salamander  
  Juvenile, Siskiyou County 

 
Habitat
Siskiyou Mountains Salamander Habitat Siskiyou Mountains Salamander Habitat Siskiyou Mountains Salamander Habitat
Habitat, Siskiyou County
Habitat, Siskiyou County
Habitat, Siskiyou County
Siskiyou Mountains Salamander Habitat Siskiyou Mountains Salamander Habitat  
Habitat, Siskiyou County

Habitat, 2,600 ft., Siskiyou County  
Short Video
  Siskiyou Mountains Salamander  
  A rock is overturned exposing a
Siskiyou Mountains Salamander.
 
Description

Size
Adults measure 2 3/4 - 3 inches long (7 cm) from snout to vent, and 4 1/3 - 5 1/2 inches (14 cm) in total length.
Appearance
A slender, elongated salamander with short limbs, nasolabial grooves, and usually 17 costal grooves with 4-5 intercostal folds between adpressed limbs. Toes are short and slightly webbed. Color is light brown to purplish brown above, with profuse whitish or yellow speckling overall, more concentrated on the limbs and sides. May show a faint light brown stripe or none at all. The belly is grayish purple with light flecks. Juveniles are black with an olive-tan stripe and a dark venter.
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. 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. Salamanders go deep underground during dry summer conditions, but they may emerge to feed on the surface on wet nights.
Recapture studies have shown that the sibling species P. elongatus moves very little in a single year - staying within a 7.5 square meter area, and it is thought that P. stormi has similar sedentary behavior.
A sit-and-wait predator, quickly jumping from a hiding spot to grab prey.
Diet
Eats small invertebrates, including spiders, mites, beetles, and moths.
Reproduction and Young
Little is known about breeding or reproduction in this species. Reproduction is terrestrial. As it does with P. elongtus, mating probably occurs in the spring, with females laying eggs in rocky underground nests in spring or early summer and brooding them until fall. Young hatch fully formed and probably remain underground until the following spring.
Range
Found in a very small area of the Siskiyou Mountains in extreme northern Siskiyou county and in the Applegate River drainage in southern Oregon.
Habitat

The largest populations are found in heavily wooded north-facing slopes with rocky talus. Strongly associated with rocky forested areas, especially talus in older forests. Mostly found in talus slopes or rock crevices, but may move into the forest during very wet periods and reside beneath woody debris.
At elevations of 1,600 - 3,500 ft. (488 -1078 m).

Taxonomic Notes
P. stormi was first described in 1965.

Some herpetologists name this salamander P. e. stormi, a subspecies of P. elongatus, making the coastal form, the Del Norte Salamander, P. e. elongatus.

P. stormi was most likely separated from P. elongatus when glaciars separated inland populations from the coastal populations.

P. stormi may hybridize with P. elongatus on the southern side of the Siskiyou Mountains.
Conservation Status
Designated as a threatened species by the state due to limited range and fragile forest talus microhabitat which is easily destroyed.
Taxonomy
Family Plethodontidae Lungless Salamanders Gray, 1850
Genus Plethodon Woodland Salamanders Tschudi, 1838
Species

stormi Siskiyou Mountains Salamander Highton and Brame, 1965
Original Description
Highton and Brame, 1965 - Pilot Register of Zoology, Card No. 20, 1-2

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.
stormi: honors Robert M. Storm

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

Alternate Names
Plethodon elongatus stormi

Similar Neighboring Salamanders
Plethodon elongatus - Del Norte Salamander
Plethodon dunni - Dunn's Salamander
Plethodon asupak - Scott Bar Salamander

More Information and References
Natureserve Explorer

California Dept. of Fish and Game

AmphibiaWeb

Thelander, Carl G., editor in chief. Life on the Edge - A Guide to California's Endangered Natural Resources - Wildlife. Berkeley: Bio Systems Books, 1994.

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) ST - 6/27/71 Threatened
California Department of Fish and Wildlife None
Bureau of Land Management None
USDA Forest Service USFS:S Sensitive
 

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