Plethodon stormi - Highton and Brame, 1965
Siskiyou Mountains Salamander
Synonym(s): Plethodon elongatus stormi
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Plethodon stormi Highton and Brame, 1965 (TSN 173670)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.101429
Element Code: AAAAD12180
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
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 stormi
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

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3?
Global Status Last Reviewed: 27Jun2017
Global Status Last Changed: 27Jun2017
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Limited to an area of about 1655 sq km in southern Oregon and northern California; threatened by deforestation, increased frequency and intensity of fire, and climate change.
Nation: United States
National Status: N2N3 (21May2001)

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 (S1S2), Oregon (S2)

Other Statuses

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R8 - California-Nevada
IUCN Red List Category: EN - Endangered

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 1000-5000 square km (about 400-2000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Restricted to the Siskiyou Mountains in southern Oregon (mostly upper Applegate River drainage, Jospehine and Jackson counties) and northern California (Siskiyou County: near Hutton Guard Station, the Cook and Green Guard Stations, along Joe and Dutch creeks in upper Applegate River drainage and along Seiad and Horse creeks in Klamath River drainage) (California Department of Fish and Game 1990). In Oregon, found at elevations from 490-1,463 m (Leonard et al. 1993).

Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Surveys conducted by the US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) suggest that there are 300 known occurrences. 70 are located in Oregon and 230 in California.

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Locally abundant in a few sites and moderately common at many others (R. B. Bury, pers. comm., 2003).

Based on numbers of salamanders captured on three 60-sq-m plots, Nussbaum (1974) guessed that in optimum habitat Siskiyou Mountain salamanders may reach a density of 0.53 salamanders per sq m. Studies of the closely related P. elongatus suggest that average density can be expected to be less than 1 per sq m and in most sites not more 0.1 per sq m (Welsh and Lind 1992).

Because relatively small areas that are vulnerable to habitat degradation or loss can harbor large numbers of salamanders, the conservation status of this species is affected less by overall abundance than it is by numbers of populations and the security of the habitat where those populations are found (Center for Biodiversity et al. 2004).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Unknown

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Key Threats: Habitat loss, degradation, and additional fragmentation of discrete populations are all potential threats to this species. Activities that may pose threats are those that disturb the surface microhabitats and/or microclimate conditions. Typically these involve actions that remove canopy and/or disturb the substrate. Removal of canopy over-story may cause desiccation of the rocky substrates and loss of the moss ground cover, a microhabitat feature of P. stormi sites (Olson 2007). Such removal has the potential to occur from timber harvest operations. Fire, fire suppression activities, construction of roads, disease, and climate change are also key threats to P. stormi.

Timber Harvest
Since timber harvesting disturbs more ground than any other land use in the known range of P. stormi, it is perceived to be the primary threat to P. stormi (Nussbaum 1974; California Department of Fish and Game 1987, Blaustein et al. 1994; Bury and Pearl 1999; USDA, USDI Species Review Panel 2001; Greenwald 2004).  Timber operations may impact P. stormi directly when P. stormi are on the surface and active during the spring and fall by killing animals during operations or indirectly by reducing habitat suitability and connectivity.  Heavy equipment operations can directly disturb talus substrates reducing habitat suitability. 

Harvesting removes tree and shrub canopy, which modifies the microhabitat at and potentially below the ground surface (Chen et al. 1999). Approximately 24% (10% private and 14% Federal matrix) of the lands within the currently documented range could be modified by timber harvesting. The majority of the land within the species range is projected to have limited timber harvest under current Klamath National Forest management plans.  Analysis of disturbance over the range of P. stormi in California shows that at least 37% of the landscape has been disturbed by fire or timber harvesting; however, they continue to be found in these areas and are reproducing (CDFW 2003).  

Most prehistoric fires were probably low intensity, frequent, and occurred when the animals were not active near the surface, with little consequence for P. stormi. Recent fire suppression has made the landscape more prone to high intensity, stand-replacing fire events that could impact the species (USDA Forest Service 1994b; Taylor and Skinner 1998). Another potential threat to the species is prescribed fire when conducted during the times of the year when they may be active and near the surface.

USFS forest inventory data for the Klamath National Forest (USDA Forest Service 1994b) suggest a historical average high intensity, stand-replacing fire frequency of 110 to 180 years in all forest types.  Wildfires occur more frequently during warm dry conditions when P. stormi are unlikely to be at the surface, and so direct mortality is not likely. The loss of tree canopy and organic debris on the soil surface by burning may modify the talus microclimate and interrupt the supply of organic material serving as an energy source for prey organisms.  Several decades of fire suppression have likely augmented fuel loading that increase the intensity of fire when it occurs.  In this landscape where high intensity stand-replacing fires occurred on a frequency of 110 to 180 years, P. stormi have successfully inhabited the area for a very long time, conservatively three to four million years.  No data is available documenting exactly how long P. stormi have occupied any specific location within their range.  

Available information suggests that P. stormi are found in areas with various levels of disturbance.  P. stormi are known to occur within disturbed sites, such as rock quarries, log landings, and road and skid road cutbanks and fill-slopes.  Due to ease of capture, many animals have been collected from talus banks of road cuts.  P. stormi may colonize road cuts soon after road construction, moving in from talus above and below the road. P. stormi move into the road cut only during the wet season or, more likely, were already on site (Nussbaum 1974). Road construction is a likely cause that ?take? (Fish & G. Code, § 86) may occur. Emergency operations conducting fire suppression activities may require road construction in areas that may contain suitable P. stormi habitat. 

Chytridiomycosis is a potentially fatal epidermal infection caused by a chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which has been found to affect several amphibian populations worldwide. In the United States massive amphibian deaths have been recorded in Arizona, California, and Colorado (Daszak et al. 1999).  Although the disease has been responsible for mass mortality, population declines, and species extinction not all infected populations and species are negatively affected (Weldon 2002; Mazzoni et al. 2003) and light infections have also been found on amphibians in the wild which show no clinical signs of the infection (Retallick et al. 2004).

Bd is a member of the phylum Chytridiomycota.  Some chytrids are found in water and soil, and contribute significantly to the initial degradation of organic matter such as chitin and keratin while other are parasites of algae, plants, nematodes or insects  (Barr 1990).  Chytrid fungus infection was reported on a wild-caught, strictly terrestrial salamander.  A single adult, gravid female, Jemez Mountains salamander (Plethodon neomexicanus), a species endemic to the Jemez Mountains in New Mexico, was collected in a meadow containing a few aspen trees (Populus tremuloides) (Cummer et al. 2005).  Infected tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) and boreal chorus frogs (Pseudacris maculate) were found in the area and the article suggests the possibility that the fungus may have been transmitted to the terrestrial salamander through direct or indirect contact with an infected aquatic amphibian. Muletz et al. (2014) found no Bd on preserved Plethodon spp. from the Appalachian Mountains and an extremely low incidence in wild specimens and concluded that these exceptionally low levels of Bd, in a region known to harbor Bd, may indicate that Plethodon specific traits limit Bd infection. Amphibian species known to acquire the disease inhabit areas within P. stormi range creating a potential mode of transport. 

A new emerging chytrid fungus, B. salamandrivorans (Bsal), has resulted in large-scale declines of some wild populations of salamanders in Europe. Martel et al. (2014) assessed 24 species of salamanders from 5 families and found that species from the families Salamandridae and Plethodontidae, particularly newts (family Salamandridae), were found to be the most susceptible to the disease. Only one species in genus Plethodon was included in the susceptibility tests, P. glutinosus, which incurred transient lesions but was considered ?resistant? to the disease. Because this species was infected temporarily, it is considered at least a short-term carrier, and as a result, the USFWS included all Plethodon spp. in its salamander importation ban. To date, there are no documented cases of Bsal in the United States.     

CDFW has determined chytridiomycosis is not likely a threat to P. stormi. As water is the primary mode of transmittal for the disease, the terrestrial nature of P. stormi greatly reduces its risk of infection and, if an infection were to occur, the outcome is currently unknown. However, potential introduction of the disease may also occur through fire suppression activities where water harboring Bd is used.  

Climate Change
The petition proposing Federal listing of P. stormi identified climate change, specifically an increase in temperature, as a concern and partial justification for protection under the Federal ESA.  The petition hypothesized that climate change may lead to less opportunity for P. stormi to forage and reproduce.  Further, since P. stormi exhibits low movement/dispersal, the species is unlikely to simply relocate to more suitable habitat as the climate warms.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2004) cites the National Academy of Sciences in reporting that ?[T]he Earth?s surface temperature has risen by about 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past century, with accelerated warming during the past two decades.?  The consequences of this trend could include an increase in the average global surface temperature of 1-4.5°F in the next 50 years.  Predicted environmental consequences of this include changes in the geographic range of forests, increases in the frequency of fire and insect outbreaks, changes in the carbon storage function of forests, increased precipitation, and changes in weather patterns (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2001). 

The subterranean microenvironment in which P. stormi spend most of their time is less sensitive to temperature changes than aboveground environments.  Changes in vegetation types above ground, rainfall and fire frequency likely pose risks to P. stormi by altering elements of the current habitat conditions.  Potential effect mechanisms include canopy modification that changes temperature at the soil surface, changes in the rates of organic input to the talus habitat, and changes in the associated animal community that depends upon these organic inputs.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: No indication of significant, directional population changes.

Long-term Trend:  
Long-term Trend Comments: No information on long-term population trend is available.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Highly to moderately vulnerable.
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Relatively low reproductive rate.

Environmental Specificity: Very narrow to narrow.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Habitat specialist.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Protection Needs: Encourage USFS, BLM to consider needs of species in land-use planning.

Global Range: (1000-5000 square km (about 400-2000 square miles)) Restricted to the Siskiyou Mountains in southern Oregon (mostly upper Applegate River drainage, Jospehine and Jackson counties) and northern California (Siskiyou County: near Hutton Guard Station, the Cook and Green Guard Stations, along Joe and Dutch creeks in upper Applegate River drainage and along Seiad and Horse creeks in Klamath River drainage) (California Department of Fish and Game 1990). In Oregon, found at elevations from 490-1,463 m (Leonard et al. 1993).

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 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

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

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Siskiyou (06093)
OR Jackson (41029), Josephine (41033)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
17 Middle Rogue (17100308)+, Applegate (17100309)+
18 Upper Klamath (18010206)+, Lower Klamath (18010209)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A lungless terrestrial salamander.
Reproduction Comments: Terrestrial brreder. Female probably lays clutch of about 9 (2-18) eggs in spring and broods them during summer. Fully formed young apparently hatch in fall, may remain underground until the following spring. Females probably lay eggs every other year (Nussbaum et al. 1983). Both sexes probably mature at about 5-6 years of age.
Ecology Comments: Moves over a range only about 25 meters across; only a few under each rock or log but may be about 20/acre.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Forest - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: This species, as with its sister species (P. elongatus, Welsh and Lind 1995), is highly associated with rocky talus slopes in areas of dense mature and late-seral forest (Welsh and Lind 1995, Bury 1998, Ollivier et al. 2001). Most individuals occur in talus and rocky soils or slopes and, occasionally, are found under logs, leaf litter, and other cover if talus is nearby (Nussbaum et al. 1983; Bury 1998; Bury and Welsh, in press). Eggs are laid on land apparently in cavities in talus (Nussbaum et al. 1983).
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Feeds on a wide variety of invertebrates including: spiders, pseudoscorpions, mites, ants, collembolans, and beetles. In the spring ants comprise a significant portion of its diet (Nussbaum 1974). Forages on the surface at night.
Adult Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Individuals are active near the surface during the spring (March to April) and autumn (September to early November) with only sporadic surface activity during the winter and summer months (Nussbaum et al. 1983). Most active in wet weather.
Length: 14 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary
Stewardship Overview: Plethodon stormi are lungless salamanders, often found in forested habitats with deep rocky soils or talus and rocky outcrops. They are endemic to northwestern California and southwestern Oregon, primarily in northern Siskiyou County, California, southern Jackson County, Oregon, and extreme southeast Josephine County, Oregon (Clayton et al. 2005). Habitat loss and degradation from timber harvest operations, fire, fire suppression activities, construction of roads, disease (potentially), and climate change are key threats to P. stormi. Several publications synthesize the best available information on P. stormi to guide management decisions (Clayton et al. 2005, DeGross and Bury 2007; Evelyn and Sweet 2012)

Key Management Efforts
Timber Harvest on Private Lands: Timber harvesting on private land in California is governed primarily by the Z?Berg-Nejedly Forest Practice Act (Pub. Resources Code, § 4511 et seq) and the Forest Practice Rules (FPR). Approval of Timber Harvest Plans (THP) by the California Department of Forestry and fire protection (CAL FIRE) requires full environmental review under guidelines and provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). When a THP is proposed within the range of P. stormi, consultation with CDFW is required under the FPR. Where the proposed timber harvesting will result in ?take?, activities causing the proposed take is prohibited except as authorized by CESA. As a matter of historical practice, CAL FIRE has conditioned approval of THPs on measures that avoid the potential for take of P. stormi. As a result, State take authorization for P. stormi in the timber context has been limited to activities involving scientific, educational and management purposes under Fish and Game Code section 2081, subdivision (a). To assure compliance with Fish and Game Code section 2080, and based upon current information about P. stormi, CDFW considers all suitable habitat within the known range of P. stormi to be occupied unless surveys, conducted according to protocol, indicate otherwise. When potentially suitable habitat is present within a proposed THP, the project proponent consults with CDFW. This process is designed to provide measures necessary to avoid incidental take. The measures include restrictions on timber harvesting operations where P. stormi or suitable habitat is present. Buffer zones may be established around the habitat (25-100 feet, depending on silvicultural methods) where heavy equipment shall be excluded. Canopy retention requirements are also established within the habitat areas. To avoid take of P. stormi, operations adjacent to the buffer zone are limited to dry, hot periods when they are not active or near the surface of the ground. New roads, skid trails, stacking logs, stationing equipment, or any other disturbance to habitat is restricted.

Federal Lands: Under the Northwest Forest Plan, in the 1994 Record of Decision, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and USFS adopted standards and guidelines for the management of habitat for late-successional and late seral forest-related species within the range of the northern spotted owl. Specific standards and guidelines, called ?Survey and Manage,? addressed concerns for the continued existence of rare and endemic species by providing for management of known sites, site-specific pre-habitat-disturbing surveys, and/or landscape scale surveys for about 400 rare and/or uncommon species. P. stormi were included in the list of Survey and Manage Species. Protection included no entry into occupied habitat and a one tree height (100-160 foot) buffer around the habitat. In accordance with the Northwest Forest Plan, LSRs, Congressionally Reserved Areas and Administratively Withdrawn areas are to be maintained as late-successional habitat over the next 100 years, maintaining suitable talus habitat for P. stormi. The USFS expects suitable habitat for P. stormi within matrix lands to be modified in the immediate future (USDA, USDI Species Review Panel 2001). Approximately 90% of the current known range of P. stormi in California occurs on Federal lands, with the remaining 10% falling on privately owned lands. Of the known sites that currently support P. stormi, 72% occur on Federal lands and 28% occur on private lands. Due to non-random survey effort this may not reflect the actual distribution of animals, and the proportional relationship of land ownership within the known range may not be correlated with the distribution of habitat.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife: In 2003 CDFW biologists attempted to visit as many known sites previously documented to support P. stormi as possible, including sites now known as Scott Bar salamander (Plethodon asupak) sites. The objective was to document habitat elements, substrate, and disturbance. Ninety-two sites previously documented as occupied by P. stormi were visited. This evaluation was designed to be as comprehensive as possible and presents data from every location known at the time on Fruit Growers Supply Company and Timber Products Company private timberlands and every site on Federal lands that Department staff could precisely locate. The majority (87%) of these sites were on private lands. The results cannot be used to statistically assess species preference, but they do illustrate the range of variability of habitat conditions where P. stormi occur. Of the 92 sampled sites, the following observations were made at the 68 sites that are occupied by P. stormi:

? All aspects were represented.
? Seventy percent of the sites occurred on slopes of 50% or greater.
? The majority (16 of 18) of the California Wildlife Habitat Relationships (CWHR) tree size and canopy classes were represented on the 1/10 acre sites.
? Conifers dominated the basal area at most sites. Hardwoods provided some or most of the cover at a total of 37 sites, and of those, 17 sites were classified as either Montane Hardwood/Conifer or Montane Hardwood.
? The percent cover of rock >2.54 cm (1-inch) covering each plot was estimated at 50% or more at 35 sites.
? In each instance, the cover object where the first animal was detected was a cobble or boulder-sized rock. Cobble and/or boulder-sized rock were visually estimated to be 32% of the rock surface cover at the 68 sites. Cobble and/or boulder-sized rock were present at all but one site.
? Evidence of timber harvest (i.e., tree stumps) was observed at 31 sites.  Multiple types of disturbance were observed at 25 sites. No evidence of disturbance was found at 12 sites.
? Moderate (10- 50%) and high (>50%) basal area removal was estimated at 54% and 26% of the 68 sites, respectively.
? Soil disturbance was 50% or greater at nearly one-half (44%) of the sites.

CDFW also attempted to locate the precanopy sites where Ollivier et al. (2001) did not detect P. stormi, to conduct opportunistic surveys. Using the data provided (Ollivier et al. 2001), 13 of 17 precanopy sites in California were located in 2003.  Plots sampled by Ollivier et al. (2001) were found at nine sites (consisting of survey flagging and/or a stake was found). At the other four sites where the exact plot could not be located, the stand was searched for suitable rock substrate and surveyed. P. stormi were detected by CDFW at 5 of the 13 sites, Scott Bar salamanders at 2 locations, and Del Norte salamanders (Plethodon elongatus) occupied another site. All life stages of P. stormi were detected at three of the five occupied sites. All life stages of Scott Bar salamanders were found at the two occupied sites. A gravid female as well as a juvenile Scott Bar salamander were found on an undisturbed pre-canopy plot, an indication that reproduction occurs without dense canopy forest conditions.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:  The Yreka Fish and Wildlife Office (YFWO) of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began a field study of the P. stormi and Scott Bar salamanders in response to a petition to list these species under the ESA, preparation of a Conservation Strategy in collaboration with the Klamath National Forest for the species in California, and questions about how to best manage these species in light of the uncertainty of their habitat associations. The title of the study is ?Comparative Abundance, Condition, and Population Structure of Plethodon stormi and Plethodon asupak across a Habitat Gradient in the Klamath River Basin in Northern California? and its objective is to compare species abundance, condition index of individuals, and population structure with a range of habitat conditions using multivariate statistical analyses. A subset of all known P. stormi and P. asupak sites in northern California (n = 190) representing a range of habitat conditions was selected for sampling within the study area.  Only sites known to be inhabited by these species were selected to maximize the probability of detection. A total of 56 sites were surveyed from 2006 through 2016 using a protocol based on ?The Survey Protocol for the Siskiyou Mountains Salamander (Plethodon stormi) Version 3.0? (Clayton et al. 1999). Since these salamanders are largely subterranean and only come to the surface for a few weeks out the year, most sites were surveyed multiple times to capture variability in detection rates. For each Plethodon detected, the snout-vent length, total length, and weight were measured for analysis of condition index.  Each individual was examined for indications of reproduction (gravid females) and life stage to be used for the population structure analyses. Data on the abiotic and biotic habitat characteristics within the survey boundaries of each site were collected. Jeff Dunk, Lecturer for the Department of Environmental Science and Management at Humboldt State University, is currently analyzing the dataset and is expected to produce a final report of the results to the YFWO in 2018.

U.S. Forest Service: A paired plot survey was conducted by the USFS for P. stormi near Elliott Creek in Siskiyou County; one site was clearcut in 1992 and a second location was selectively cut, i.e., one or two of the largest trees per acre were removed in the mid-1950s (at Hutton Guard Station). In April 1993, a survey in the clearcut unit following harvest yielded 40 salamanders (10 salamanders per person hour).  During single opportunistic searches conducted in the spring of 1994, 1995, 1998 and 1999, only one P. stormi was found (in 1999). The number of P. stormi found in the selectively cut site was relatively consistent (3 to 6 salamanders per person hour) during the years sampled (Clayton 2004a pers. comm.).

Management Requirements: Overstory trees on and surrounding occupied sites should not be cut; talus should not be disturbed (Thomas et al. 1993).
Monitoring Requirements: For a survey protocol, see:
Biological Research Needs: Monitoring of population trends. Need to understand short-term effects of different fire severity (low, moderate, high) on their populations and long-term persistence (Bruce Bury, USGS, and Jennifer Jones, USFWS, pers. comm. 2017). Although they have evolved in a fire-prone environment, the frequency and severity of fire behavior has changed after decades of fire suppression and now climate change (Jennifer Jones, USFWS, pers. comm. 2017). California Department of Wildlife and US Forest Service are planning a study to monitor population trends post fire and salvage implementation in Spring 2018.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 06Dec2017
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Rev. Yarusoo, A., Croteau, J., and Davidson, A.D. (2017); Hammerson, G.
Management Information Edition Date: 12Jan2018
Management Information Edition Author: Davidson, A.D. (2018)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 06May2004
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).

  • 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. 1970. Western salamanders of the genus Plethodon: systematics and geographic variation. Herpetologica 26:468-516.

  • Brodie, E.D., Jr. 1971. Plethodon stormi. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. 103:1-2.

  • Bury, R. B. 1973. Western Plethodon: systematics and biogeographic relationships of the elongatus group (Abstract). HISS News-Journal 1:56-57.

  • Bury, R. B. 1998. Evolution and zoogeography of the Del Norte and Siskiyou Mountain salamander with management recommendations. Unpubl. Final Report to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management, Medford District. USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center.

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