Plethodon elongatus - Van Denburgh, 1916
Del Norte Salamander
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Plethodon elongatus Van Denburgh, 1916 (TSN 173655)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104301
Element Code: AAAAD12050
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Amphibians - Salamanders
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Amphibia Caudata Plethodontidae Plethodon
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B85FRO01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Plethodon elongatus
Taxonomic Comments: Plethodon stormi has been regarded as a subspecies of P. elongatus by some authors (Stebbins 2003). Recent genetic studies (DeGross 2004, Mahoney 2004) support the view that P. elongatus and P. stormi are distinct species. The two taxa are somewhat similar in morphology, but P. stormi mostly have 17 costal grooves compared to 18 in P. elongatus.

Mead et al. (2005) examined morphological and mtDNA variation in Plethodon populations near the California-Oregon border and concluded that P. stormi and P. elongatus are distinct species and that nearby populations in the vicinity of the Scott River in Siskiyou County, California, represent a distinct species, which was described as Plethodon asupak.

Mahoney (2001) used mtDNA data to examine phylogenetic relationships of western and eastern Plethodon and Aneides. She found strong support for eastern Plethodon as a clade, but monophyly of Aneides was only weakly supported in some analyses, though "the monophyly of this clade is not in doubt." Analyses indicated that Plethodon stormi and P. elongatus are clearly sister taxa, and P. dunni and P. vehiculum also are well-supported sister taxa. Plethodon larselli and P. vandykei appear to be closely related, whereas P. neomexicanus did not group with any other lineage. All analyses yielded a paraphyletic Plethodon but constraint analyses did not allow rejection of a monophyletic Plethodon. Mahoney recommended continued recognition of Aneides as a valid genus and adoption of the metataxon designation for Plethodon*, indicating this status with an asterisk. (A metataxon is a group of lineages for which neither monophyly nor paraphyly can be demonstrated.)
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 23Apr2004
Global Status Last Changed: 23Apr2004
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Small range in southwestern Oregon and northwestern California; fairly common in suitable habitat; now occurs largely in protected areas.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4 (23Apr2004)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States California (S3), Oregon (S3)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: NT - Near threatened

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Range extends from the vicinity of Port Orford, southwestern Oregon, south to central Humboldt County, northwestern California (Schmidt and Norman, 1997, Herpetol. Rev. 28:206). Elevational range extends from sea level to about 1,200 meters (Nussbaum et al. 1983).

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Jennings and Hayes (1994) mapped approximately 70 sites with extant populations in California. Brodie and Storm (1971) mapped 17 locations in Oregon.

Population Size: 2500 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but likely is at least several thousand. Recent survey data indicate that this species is fairly common in appropriate habitat.

Viability/Integrity Comments: M. Stern (pers. comm., 1997) estimated that of occurrences in Oregon, 25% are in excellent to good condition, 70% in fair condition.

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Over the long term, the species likely has declined with loss of old-growth forest habitat, especially in drier inland locations.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Recent surveys indicate no apparent reason for concern.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <50% to Relatively Stable
Long-term Trend Comments: Likely relatively stable in extent of occurrence; uncertain long-term trend in population size, area of occurrence, and number/condition of occurrences (probably small decline).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)) Range extends from the vicinity of Port Orford, southwestern Oregon, south to central Humboldt County, northwestern California (Schmidt and Norman, 1997, Herpetol. Rev. 28:206). Elevational range extends from sea level to about 1,200 meters (Nussbaum et al. 1983).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

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

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: IUCN, Conservation International, NatureServe, and collaborators, 2004


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Del Norte (06015), Humboldt (06023), Siskiyou (06093), Trinity (06105)
OR Coos (41011)*, Curry (41015), Douglas (41019), Josephine (41033)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
17 South Umpqua (17100302)+, Coquille (17100305)+*, Sixes (17100306)+*, Applegate (17100309)+, Lower Rogue (17100310)+, Illinois (17100311)+, Chetco (17100312)+
18 Smith (18010101)+, Mad-Redwood (18010102)+, Upper Klamath (18010206)+, Lower Klamath (18010209)+, Salmon (18010210)+, Trinity (18010211)+, South Fork Trinity (18010212)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A relatively long, slender, lungless terrestrial salamander.
Reproduction Comments: Most females probably lay their eggs in the spring and brood them during the summer. Most hatching probably occurs in the fall (Nussbaum et al. 1983).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: This salamander has a very small home range. Welsh and Lind (1992) found that over six months, 66% of 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.
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Forest - Conifer
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Strongly associated with moist talus and rocky substrates, in redwood or Douglas-fir forests, including riparian zones. Usually found among moss-covered rocks, under bark and other forest litter, or in crevices in rotting logs. Usually not in seeps or other very wet areas. In northwestern California, associated with older forests with closed, multi-storied canopy (composed of both conifers and hardwoods), with a cool, moist microclimate, and rocky substrates dominated by cobble-sized pieces; these conditions may be optimal throughout most of the range (Welsh 1990, Welsh and Lind 1995). In coastal regions, may be common in recently harvested forest areas with no associated older forests (Diller and Wallace 1994). Lays eggs in concealed terrestrial sites.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Feeds on a variety of small invertebrates including springtails, caterpillars, larval and adult beetles, millipedes, and spiders.
Adult Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates
Immature Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: Active above ground fall to spring, except during cold or dry weather (Stebbins 1972).
Length: 15 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Management Requirements: U.S. Forest Service et al. (1993) and Thomas et al. (1993) recommended the following: protect inhabited sites from ground-disturbing activities; maintain canopy closure of at least 40%; maintain a buffer of at least the height of one site-potential tree or 100 feet, whichever is greater. However, the results of studies by Diller and Wallace (1994) indicate that conservation measures should be area specific, due to geographic variation in habitat requirements (see GHABCOM). For example, in coastal areas where moisture is abundant, timber harvest activities, especially road building, tend to produce talus that actually may increase the toal amount of available habitat (Diller and Wallace 1990), whereas in drier interior localities, maintenance of old-growth condition may be necessary (Welsh 1990).
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
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 04May2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 07Feb2002
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
  • Behler, J. L., and F. W. King. 1979. The Audubon Society field guide to North American reptiles and amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 719 pp.

  • Blackburn, L., P. Nanjappa, and M. J. Lannoo. 2001. An Atlas of the Distribution of U.S. Amphibians. Copyright, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA.

  • Brodie, E.D., Jr. and Storm, R.M. 1971. Plethodon elongatus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. 102:1-2.

  • Clayton, D. R. et al. 1998. Survey protocol for the Siskiyou Mountains Salamander (Plethodon stormi). USFS, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 18 pp.

  • Diller, L. V., and R. L. Wallace. 1994. Distribution and habitat of PLETHODON ELONGATUS on managed, young growth forests in north coastal California. J. Herpetol. 28:310-318.

  • Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.

  • Jennings, M. R., and M. P. Hayes. 1994. Amphibian and reptile species of special concern in California. Final Report submitted to the California Department of Fish and Game, Inland Fisheries Division. Contract No. 8023. 255 pp.

  • Mahoney, M. J. 2001. Molecular systematics of Plethodon and Aneides (Caudata: Plethodontini): phylogenetic analysis of an old and rapid radiation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 18:174-188.

  • Mahoney, M. J. 2004. Molecular systematics and phylogeography of the Plethodon elongatus species group: combining phylogenetic and population genetic methods to investigate species history. Molecular Ecology 13:149-166.

  • Mead, L. S., D. R. Clayton, R. S. Nauman, D. H. Olson, and M. E. Pfrender. 2005. Newly discovered populations of salamanders from Siskiyou County California represent a species distinct from Plethodon stormi. Herpetologica 61:158-177.

  • Nussbaum, R.A., E.D. Brodie, Jr., and R.M. Storm. 1983. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Pacific Northwest. University Press of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho. 332 pp.

  • Ollivier, L.M. and Welsh, H.H. 1999. Survey protocols for Plethodon elongatus. Survey protocols for amphibians under the survey and manage provision of the Northwest Forest Plan. Version 3.0. Olson, D.H.,editor. 163-200. USDI BLM No. OR-2000-04.

  • Petranka, J. W. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

  • Stebbins, R. C. 1972. California Amphibians and Reptiles. University of California Press, Berkeley, California.

  • Stebbins, R. C. 1985a. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Second edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. xiv + 336 pp.

  • Thomas, J. W., Ward, J., Raphael, M.G., Anthony, R.G., Forsman, E.D., Gunderson, A.G., Holthausen, R.S., Marcot, B.G., Reeves, G.H., Sedell, J.R. and Solis, D.M. 1993. Viability assessments and management considerations for species associated with late-successional and old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest. The report of the Scientific Analysis Team. USDA Forest Service, Spotted Owl EIS Team, Portland Oregon. 530 pp.

  • Thomas, J. W., Ward, J., Raphael, M.G., Anthony, R.G., Forsman, E.D., Gunderson, A.G., Holthausen, R.S., Marcot, B.G., Reeves, G.H., Sedell, J.R. and Solis, D.M. 1993. Viability assessments and management considerations for species associated with late-successional and old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest. The report of the Scientific Analysis Team. USDA Forest Service, Spotted Owl EIS Team. 530 pp. Portland, Oregon.

  • U.S. Forest Service (USFS), et al. 1993. Draft supplemental environmental impact statement on management of habitat for late-successional and old-growth forest related species within the range of the northern spotted owl. Published separately is Appendix A: Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment Team. 1993. Forest ecosystem management: an ecological, economic, and social assessment (FEMAT Report).

  • Welsh, H. H. and A. L. Lind. 1988. Old growth forests and the distribution of the terrestrial herptofauna. Pp. 439- in Szaro et al. 1988, Management of Amphibians, reptiles, and Small Mammals in North America, Proceedings of the Symposium in Flagstaff AZ. USFS GTR# RM-166.

  • Welsh, H. H., Jr. 1990. Relictual amphibians and old-growth forests. Conservation Biology 4:309-19.

  • Welsh, H. H., Jr., and A. J. Lind. 1995. Habitat correlates of the Del Norte salamander, Plethodon elongatus, in northwestern California. Journal of Herpetology 29:198-210.

  • Welsh, H. H., and A. J. Lind. 1992. Population ecology of two relictual salamanders from the Klamath Mountains of Northwestern California. Pp. 419-437 in McCullough D. R. and Barrett, R. H. 1992, Wildlife 2001: Populations. Elsevier Applied Science, London.

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