A small slender salamander identified by having four digits on the hind limb, a narrow head that is poorly demarcated from the neck, short limbs with very small digits, and a long, slender tail. The species usually has a light dorsal stripe that can be tan, brown, reddish, or beige but usually contains streaks of light pigment;the overall impression is of a dark brown to black animal. The lateral and ventral surfaces have a rich speckling of tiny white dots. The head is narrower and the hands and feet smaller with less discrete digits than neighboring and sympatric species with which it is easily confused (Batrachoseps attenuatus and and undescribed species in the central coastal zone).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: United States
U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: California
This species is endemic to California, USA, where it is ranges from Monterey County in the inner and outer coastal ranges southward through the Transverse Ranges and Tehachapi Mountains into the San Gabrial Mountains. It is then discontinuously distributed in the Baldwin, Puente and Whittier Hills, the Santa Ana Mountains, and the coastal parts of southern Orange County. The southernmost locality is in extreme southwestern Riverside County. It also. occurs on Santa Cruz Island.
The species is most commonly found in oak-woodland, specifically canyon live oak woodlands (Block & Morrison 1998). They may also be found in mixed oak-pine forests as well as in coastal scrubland. Microhabitats includes soil under rocks, logs, bark, and in termite channels, usually in damp locations.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
These salamanders are completely terrestrial. Oviposition occurs in winter
for the Southern California. Eggs are rarely encountered, and are typically buried deeply in the soil, under rocks or logs.
Trends and Threats
These are relatively resilient organisms that are mainly threatened by major changes in habitat, such as conversion of natural habitats for housing or industrial development. They are also threatened by introduction of noxious non-native plants that are invasive and modify habitat to the point that it is not usable.
Relation to Humans
These animals are capable of living an almost commensal existence with humans, and often are found in gardens.
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
This species has recently been revised taxonomically. The Sierra Nevada populations formerly considered to be in this species are now known as Batrachoseps gregarius. The Santa Cruz Island and southern California (San Gabriel Mountains and to the south) populations are genetically distinct from the populations in the main range.
See another account at californiaherps.com.
Block, W. M. and Morrison, M. L. (1998). ''Habitat relationships of amphibian and reptiles in California oak woodlands.'' Journal of Herpetology, 32(1), 51-60.
Jockusch, E. L., Wake, D. B. and Yanev, K. P. (1998). ''New species of slender salamanders, Batrachoseps (Amphibia: Plethodontidae), from the Sierra Nevada of California.'' Contributions in Science, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, (472), 1-17.
Originally submitted by: Sasha Norwood and David B. Wake (first posted 1999-02-23)
Edited by: David B. Wake, Kevin Gin (2008-01-13)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2008 Batrachoseps nigriventris: Black-bellied Slender Salamander <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/3944> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 23, 2022.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2022. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 23 May 2022.
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