A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California

New Additions in 2018


observation link

These are some of the new pictures, sounds, and video that I have added to the site in 2018.
Most of these come from other photographers who I want to thank. I'm too lazy to list everything that I add myself.

The links lead to pages which include thumbnails and other links to the new content. You will have to search the page to find them, but most of them are usually put at the bottom of the gallery of thumbnails of the featured animal.
The most recent additions to the site are on top of the list found below.
The list of additions to the site in 2017 can be seen here.


Jeff Nordland contributed pictures of hypo-melanistic and piebald Large-blotched Ensatinas from San Diego County.

Rudy Wallen contributed a picture of a California Red-legged Frog from San Francisco.

Brian Hinds contributed a picture of an unusually brown Southern Pacific Rattlesnake with a thin gold pattern from Santa Barbara County, and a San Joaquin Coachwhip from Stanislaus County that's a real beauty.

Mark gary sent in a nice shot of a very mature California Tiger Salamander egg that looks ready to hatch any minute, and some freshly-laid California Red-legged Frog eggs.

Evan Mehta contributed pictures of an albino (or maybe leucistic) California Slender Salamander. Along with an albino Arboreal Salamander, as far as I can remember, this is only the second picture of an albino salamander I have on the site.

Brian Hinds has been helping me re-do my range map for Black-bellied Slender Salamanders in the L.A. Basin. It turns out that they are being found in lots of places not formerly shown on my map (or on most other range maps for the species), so I now show them through most of the basin except for a portion in the south and Orange County where so far we don't know of any records for them.

Paul Maier has contributed a lot of great pictures:
Arroyo Toad from San Diego County; Arboreal Salamander from San Diego County; San Diego Banded Gecko from Baja California Norte; bright red Red Racers from Imperial and coastal San Diego County; Southern Pacific Rattlesnake from San Diego County; a hatchling Southwestern Pond Turtle from Riverside County; Western Spadefoots from San Diego County; Granite Night Lizard from San Diego County; Yellow-backed Spiny Lizard; Southwestern Threadsnake; Two-striped Gartersnake from San Diego County, Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frogs from Fresno County, Northern Rubber Boas from Fresno County; Long-nosed Leopard Lizard from Inyo County; Blainville's Horned Lizard; Flat-tailed Horned Lizard; San Diego Nightsnake; Rosy Boa; California Mountain Kingsnake; Mount Lyell Salamanders; Monterey Ensatina; Large-blotched Ensatina and Hybrids; Sierra Nevada Ensatina, and lots and lots of great Yosemite Toad pictures, inluding lots of beautiful habitat shots - Adults and juvenile toads, Adults in amplexus, tadpoles, and metamorphs, and a video of a chorus of males.


Taxonomy Changes

I have been adding notes and making some name changes based on SSAR Herpetological Circular No. 43, 2017, the latest common and scientific names list. The main changes on their list from the taxonomy I have been using (which has already changed a bit from the 2012 7th edition of the SSAR Herpetological Circular) are shown below. I have not made all these changes yet, and I may not make them all. I will wait to see if they are accepted elsewhere first (especially the changes to Elgaria.)


Anaxyrus boreas -
subspecies no longer recognized


Chionactis occipitalis
gets re-arranged into two species:
Chionactis occiptalis annulata -
Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake - Becomes Chionactis annulata annulata
Chionactis occipitalis occipitalis -
Mohave Shovel-nosed Snake - Becomes Chionactis occipitalis
Chionactis occipitalis talpina -
Nevada Shovel-nosed Snake - subspecies is sunk, merged into C. occipitalis

Lichanura orcutti - Northern Three-lined Boa - Common name changed back to Rosy Boa. (I'm glad to hear it.)
But to make things even more confusing:
Lichanura trivirgata - the common name has changed from Rosy Boa to Three-lined Boa.

Pelamis platurus
- Yellow-bellied Sea Snake - Put in a new genus - Hydrophis platurus

Pituophis catenifer - Gopher Snake - I have changed all to Gophersnake, to be consistent with the lists use of merged names instead of separated names (except for Sea Turtles. What's with that?)

Ramphotyphlops braminus - Brahminy Blindsnake - Put in a new genus - Indotyphlops braminus


Anniella campi - Common name changed from Southern Sierra Legless Lizard to Big Springs Legless Lizard
Anniella pulchra - Common name changed from Northern California Legless Lizard to Northern Legless Lizard
Anniella stebbinsi - Common name changed from Southern California Legless Lizard to San Diegan Legless Lizard

Elgaria multicarinata scincicauda
- No longer recognized, becoming E. m. multicarinata
E. m. multicarinata - Common name changed to Forest Alligator Lizard (and range changed)
E. m. scincauda - Common name changed to Woodland Alligator Lizard (and range changed)

Urosaurus nigricaudus
- Baja California Brush Lizard - Changed back to Urosaurus microscutatus - Small-scaled Lizard


Chelydra serpentina - Common Snapping Turtle - Common name changed to Snapping Turtle, apparently because the word "common" is now considered misleading.


Grayson Sandy sent in pics of California Red-legged Frogs in amplexus in Contra Costa County, so it looks like the breeding season is underway.

Mark Gary found two new ponds in Contra Costa County that contained some recently-laid California Tiger Salamander eggs.

Chad Lane contributed some pictures of Southern Long-toed Salamanders from a county not yet represented here - Nevada County.

Last year Lynda Flynn asked me if she could make a quilt based on one of my pictures of Rana draytonii and I was excited to see a picture of her finished quilt, which looks a lot better than my frog picture.

Jay Keller contributed some pictures of an Arboreal Salamander and its habitat in San Diego County and some Black-bellied Slender Salamanders from the Santa Ana Mountains in Orange County, the first pictures I have from those mountains.

Evan Mehta contributed pictures of a Red-bellied Newt and habitat in the recently-discovered Santa Clara County location.

Another Yellow-bellied Sea Snake was found in California, at Newport Beach on 1/8/18, and this is not even an El Ninyo year. This is the fifth confirmed record.

Adam Clause contributed a bunch of great pictures from Mono and Inyo Counties: Western Tiger Salamander from Mono County, Great Basin Spadefoots from Mono and Inyo Counties, Sierra Alligator Lizards from Inyo County, Leopard Lizard from Mono County, Long-nosed Snakes from Mono County, and a Striped Whipsnake from Mono County.

Margi Bauer contributed pictures of a Common Sharp-tailed Snake found in San Luis Obispo County.

Ed Ervin contributed a picture of the tracks of a California Toad as it moved through dirt in San Diego County.

Natalie Reader contributed John Kunna's picture of some irregular upper labial scales of a San Francisco Gartersnake found among her study animals at the SF Airport. The snake has a horizontally split 6th upper labial scale on both sides of the head, something I don't think I've ever seen before, and I don't know how rare it is.

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