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A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California


Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander -
Batrachoseps luciae

Jockusch, Yanev & Wake, 2001
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Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander Range Map
Range in California: Red

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Range Map of all Slender Salamanders in California





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Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander
Adult, Monterey County Adult, Monterey County Juvenile, coiling defensively,
Monterey County
Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander
Adult, Monterey County Adult, Monterey County
Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander
  Adult, Monterey County  
Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander Comparison
Adult, Monterey County Adult, Monterey County Batrachoseps gavilanensis occurs very close to B. luciae and the ranges of both salamanders meet in one region. They are identical in appearance. At one time they were considered to be the same species, B. pacificus.
     
Habitat
Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander Habitat Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander Habitat Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander Habitat
Coastal Redwood Forest Habitat,
Monterey County
Habitat,
Monterey County
Coastal Redwood Forest Habitat,
Monterey County
Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander Habitat Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander Habitat  
Habitat, Monterey County Habitat, Monterey County  
     
Short Video
  Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander  
  Several Santa Lucia Slender Mountains Slender Salamanders are uncovered in Monterey County.  
   
Description
 
Size
Adults are 1 1/4 - 1 4/5 inches long (3.2 - 4.6 cm) from snout to vent.

Appearance
A small slim salamander, with 18-19 costal grooves.
Short limbs, a narrow head, long slender body, very long tail, and conspicuous costal and caudal grooves give this species the worm-like appearance typical of most Slender Salamanders.
There are four toes on the front and hind feet, which is also typical of Slender Salamanders.
(Other California salamanders have five toes on the hind feet.)
Color and Pattern
The ground color is dark blackish-brown overlayed with a brass or reddish dorsal stripe that is less apparent in older animals. The venter is lighter, grayish brown.
There is some whitish speckling and metallic iridophores

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 their mouth tissues, which 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 some 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.)
Activity
Active on rainy or wet nights when temperatures are moderate.
Along the fog-cooled coastal side of the mountains, salamanders have been found under surface objects year-round.
On the hotter and drier eastern slopes, they probably aestivate underground in the summer.
Typically found under rocks, logs, bark, and other debris. 
Defense
Slender salamanders use several defense tactics, including:
- Coiling and remaining still, relying on cryptic coloring to avoid detection.
- Uncoiling quickly and springing away repeatedly bouncing over the ground, then remaining still again to avoid detection.
- Detaching the tail, which wriggles on the ground to distract a predator from the salamander long enough for it to escape. 
(After its tail is detached or severed, the salamander will grow a new tail.)
Diet and Feeding
Most likely eats small invertebrates.
Feeding behavior is not known, but other Batrachoseps species are sit-and-wait predators that use a projectile tongue to catch prey.
Breeding
Reproduction is terrestrial.
Females lay eggs in moist places on land, underground or under surface objects.
Eggs
Captive females from two localities laid average egg clutches of 5.1 and 10.6 eggs.
Eggs hatched in an average of 78 days.
One probable communal nest has been found containing 19 eggs and several adult salamanders.
Young
Young develop completely in the egg and hatch fully formed.

Habitat
Inhabits moist locations in redwood and mixed evergreen forests.
Mostly found on north-facing slopes. Also found in open areas in parks in the city of Monterey.

Geographical Range
Endemic to California.
Found along the western slope of the northern Santa Lucia Mountains in Monterey county from the Monterey Peninsula south to near the San Luis Obispo county line, and on the eastern slopes from Arroyo Seco south to at least the 36th parallel.

Notes on Taxonomy

Prior to its description in 2001, B. luciae was recognized as B. pacificus which has been split into ten species based on
molecular studies.

Here's a Diagram of the Batrachoseps Complex showing the relationships between species.


Alternate and Previous Names (Synonyms)

Batrachoseps luciae - Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander (Jockusch, Wake, Yanev 2001, Stebbins 2003, 2012)
Batrachoseps pacificus relictus - Relictual Slender Salamander (Stebbins 1985)
Batrachoseps attenuatus - California Slender Salamander (Stebbins 1954, 1966)
Batrachoseps attenuatus attenuatus - Worm-salamander (Bishop 1943)
Batrachoseps attenuatus - Slender Salamander (Storer 1925)
Batrachoseps nigriventris (Cope 1869)
Batrachoseps attenuatus (Cooper 1868)
Batrachoseps attenuata (Baird 1850)
Salamandrina attenuata (Eschscholtz 1833)

Conservation Issues  (Conservation Status)
Listed as imperiled by NatureServe for no specific reason. There are no described significant conservation concerns regarding this species.
Taxonomy
Family Plethodontidae Lungless Salamanders Gray, 1850
Genus Batrachoseps Slender Salamanders Bonaparte, 1841
Species

luciae Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander Jockusch, Yanev & Wake, 2001
Original Description
Elizabeth L. Jockusch, Kay P. Yanev, and David B. Wake ''Molecular phylogenetic analysis
of slender salamanders, genus Batrachoseps (Amphibia: Plethodontidae), from central coastal
California with descriptions of four new species.'' Herpetological Monographs, #15 2001.

Meaning of the Scientific Name
Batrachoseps: Greek - amphibian, frog lizard - describes lizard-like appearance.
luciae: derived from the Santa Lucia Mountains, the center of the distribution of this species.

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

Similar Neighboring Salamanders
Batrachoseps gavilanensis
Batrachoseps incognitus
Batrachoseps nigriventris
Batrachoseps mino
r

More Information and References
California Department of Fish and Wildlife

AmphibiaWeb

Elizabeth L. Jockusch, Kay P. Yanev, and David B. Wake ''Molecular phylogenetic analysis of slender salamanders, genus Batrachoseps (Amphibia: Plethodontidae), from central coastal California with descriptions of four new species.'' Herpetological Monographs, #15 2001.

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.

Conservation Status

The following status listings are copied from the 2017 Special Animals List and the 2017 Endangered and Threatened Animals List which are published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

If no status is listed here, the animal is not included on either CDFW 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.

Check here to see the most current complete lists.



Organization
Status Listing
NatureServe Global Ranking G2G3 Imperiled - Vulnerable
NatureServe State Ranking S3

Vulnerable in the state due to a restricted range, relatively few populations (often 80 or fewer), recent and widespread declines, or other factors making it vulnerable to extirpation from the state.

U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) None
California Endangered Species Act (CESA) None
California Department of Fish and Wildlife None
Bureau of Land Management None
USDA Forest Service None
IUCN LC Least Concern
 

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