Batrachoseps relictus - Brame and Murray, 1968
Relictual Slender Salamander
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Batrachoseps relictus Brame and Murray, 1968 (TSN 208344)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.889920
Element Code: AAAAD02070
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Amphibians - Salamanders
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Amphibia Caudata Plethodontidae Batrachoseps
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Jockusch, E. L., I. Martínez-Solano, R. W. Hansen, and D. B. Wake. 2012. Morphological and molecular diversification of slender salamanders (Caudata: Plethodontidae: Batrachoseps) in the southern Sierra Nevada of California with descriptions of two new species. Zootaxa 3190:1-30.
Concept Reference Code: A12JOC01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Batrachoseps relictus
Taxonomic Comments: Jockusch et al. (1998) redefined B. relictus; B. diabolicus, B. regius, B. kawia, all formerly included in B. relictus, were recognized as distinct species.

Batrachoseps altasierrae (Jockusch et al. 2012) formerly was encompassed in B. relictus, which now has a much more restricted distribution.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 22Aug2014
Global Status Last Changed: 22Aug2014
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Small range in southern Sierra Nevada of California; small number of known populations; apparently extirpated at lower elevation extent of historical range; apparently small population size.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1 (24May2013)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States California (S1)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: DD - Data deficient

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: <100 square km (less than about 40 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Known historical range includes the vicinity of Breckenridge Mountain, in the southern Sierra Nevada of California, including the lower Kern River Canyon and higher elevations on Breckenridge Mountain (Jockusch et al. 2012). The historical range spans only 15 kilometers, and the two known extant populations are less than 5 kilometers apart (Jockusch et al. 2012).

Area of Occupancy: 2 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by only two known extant occurrences (Jockusch et al. 2012).

Population Size: Unknown
Population Size Comments: Population size is unknown but apparently small (Jockusch et al. 2012).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very few (1-3)

Overall Threat Impact: High - low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Jockusch et al. (2012) reported that a site east of Squirrel Meadow, discovered in 1979, was later severely degraded by the construction of a logging road through the seepage area. A subsequent fire and timber harvest further compromised this site, and salamanders were not found there despite multiple searches over the next 22 years. Recent visits suggest that the population has rebounded somewhat, but prime seep habitat is quite small.

Climate change presumably could negatively affect this species if it results in reduced water availability at springs and seeps.

Short-term Trend: Unknown
Short-term Trend Comments: Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is unknown.

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-70%
Long-term Trend Comments: Lower elevation populations are apparently extirpated (Jockusch et al. 2012).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (<100 square km (less than about 40 square miles)) Known historical range includes the vicinity of Breckenridge Mountain, in the southern Sierra Nevada of California, including the lower Kern River Canyon and higher elevations on Breckenridge Mountain (Jockusch et al. 2012). The historical range spans only 15 kilometers, and the two known extant populations are less than 5 kilometers apart (Jockusch et al. 2012).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single state or province

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CA

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Kern (06029)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
18 Middle Kern-Upper Tehachapi- (18030003)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Available evidence indicates that oviposition occurs in June (Jockusch et al. 2012).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): SPRING/SPRING BROOK
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: All recent sightings have been from two small high elevation populations in pine-fir forest (Jockusch et al. 2012). These salamanders are very closely associated with water, sometimes being found actually in water (e.g., in springs) (Jockusch et al. 2012). Rarely they have been found beyond surface water; two adults were found within a moist log about 45 meters upslope from a seep, and at a Breckenridge Mountain site (headwater seepage of Lucas Creek, elevation 1,665-1,700 meters), all specimens have been found under cover objects directly beside the stream over a distance of about 750 meters (Jockusch et al. 2012). Eggs are laid in wet/moist locations under rocks and probably other secluded sites. In mid-June, Hansen found a communal nest consisting of about 125 eggs in a large mass beneath a rock resting in seepage; approximately 20 adult salamanders were present (this record was first reported by Stebbins [1985] in his account of B. simatus) (Jockusch et al. 2012). .
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Members of this genus feed on a wide variety of small invertebrates including insects, spiders, snails and sowbugs (Stebbins 1972).
Phenology Comments: At the two known high elevation Breckenridge Mountain sites (1,700 and 2,000 meters), individuals have been found active on the surface from May to early October (Jockusch et al. 2012)..
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Primary needs include (1) protection of the known extant populations and habitats (particularly springs, seeps, and riparian corridors) and (2) surveys to locate additional populations of this species. Intermediate elevations on Breckenridge Mountain are virtually unexplored for Batrachoseps (Jockusch et al. 2012). Given that B. relictus occurs both at river level and at high elevations, streamside and seep habitats that drain the northern slope of Breckenridge Mountain into the Kern River should be surveyed (Jockusch et al. 2012).
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Terrestrial Plethodontid Salamanders

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Busy highway, especially with high traffic volume at night; major river or lake; other totally inappropriate habitat that the salamanders cannot traverse.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 3 km
Separation Justification: These salamanders rarely successfully cross roadways that have heavy traffic volume at night, when most movements occur. Rivers and lakes pose formidable impediments to movement and generally function as barriers, with the effect increasing with river and lake size. Treatment of these as barriers or unsuitable habitat is a subjective determination.

Compared to larger ambystomatid salamanders, the movements of plethodontids are poorly documented, but it is clear that home ranges tend to be very small (e.g., Marvin 2001), on the order of a few meters to a few dozen meters in diameter. For example, Welsh and Lind (1992) found that over six months, 66% of Plethodon elongatus males and 80% of females recaptured were in the same 7.5 x 7.5 m grid, and the maximum distance moved was 36.2 m. D. Clayton (pers. comm 1998) estimated that average home ranges may be as small as one square meter. Yet, on occasion, dispersing plethodontids likely travel at least several hundred meters. The separation distance for unsuitable habitat reflects the nominal minimum value of 1 km. The separation distance for suitable habitat reflects the limited movements of these salamanders, tempered by their tendency to occur throughout patches of suitable habitat and the likely low probability that two locations separated by a gap of less than a few kilometers of suitable habitat would represent independent occurrences over the long term.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .1 km
Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 24May2013
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 24May2013
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Collins, J. T. 1990. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles. 3rd ed. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Herpetological Circular No. 19. 41 pp.

  • Crother, B. I. (editor). 2012. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. 7th edition. SSAR Herpetological Circular 39:1-92.

  • Jockusch, E. L., D. B. Wake, and K. P. Yanev. 1998. New species of slender salamanders, Batrachoseps (Amphibia: Plethodontidae), from the Sierra Nevada of California. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Contributions in Science 472:1-17.

  • Jockusch, E. L., I. Martínez-Solano, R. W. Hansen, and D. B. Wake. 2012. Morphological and molecular diversification of slender salamanders (Caudata: Plethodontidae: Batrachoseps) in the southern Sierra Nevada of California with descriptions of two new species. Zootaxa 3190:1-30.

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