Batrachoseps relictus
Relictual Slender Salamander
Subgenus: Batrachoseps
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
Taxonomic Notes: This species has a complicated history. Brame and Murray (1968, Bull Nat Hist Mus Los Angeles Co) named the species and assigned to it populations from the Kern Canyon (the type locality) and the southern Sierra Nevada (west of the Kern River), the central California Coastal region, Santa Cruz Island, and Sierra San Pedro Martir in Baja California, Mexico. The population at the type locality and those in lower Kern Canyon disappeared by the early 1970s and tissues were unavailable for molecular studies, complicating the subsequent history of the taxon. Discovery of populations on Breckenridge Mtn, south of the lower Kern River, that were slightly different (more trunk vertebrae) than those at the much lower elevation type locality, led to years of speculation that they might be members of a new species, since that population was genetically distinct. Yanev (1979, in Power, ed. The California Islands) showed that central coastal populations belonged to different species, subsequently named as B. gavilanensis, B. luciae, B. incognitus and B. minor by Jockusch, Yanev and Wake (2001, Contrb Sci Nat Hist Mus Los Angeles Co), and assigned the Santa Cruz Island population to B. nigriventris. The Sierra San Pedro Martir population was shown to be assignable to B. major by Martinez-Solano, Peralta-Garcia, Jockusch, Wake, Vaszquez-Dominguez and Parra-Olea (2012 Mol Phyl Evol). The populations in the Sierra Nevada were placed in two new species, B. regius and B. kawia by Jockusch, Wake and Yanev (1998, Contrb Sci Nat Hist Mus Los Angeles Co), but the southernmost populations in the Greenhorn Mts were retained in B. relictus. The discovery of a population in the upper reaches of Lucas Creek, which flows into the lower Kern Canyon, enabled a molecular analysis by Jockusch, Martinez-Solano, Hansen and Wake (2012, Zootaxa), which determined that it and the Breckenridge Mtn populations are appropriately assigned to B. relictus. This, in turn, meant that the populations north and west of the Kern River, and one east of the Kern River on the Kern Plateau previously considered to be B. relictus were without a name. They were placed in a new taxon, Batrachoseps altasierrae in 2012.

© 2012 William Flaxington (1 of 10)

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: United States

U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: California

IUCN (Red List) status: Data Deficient (DD).
For Red List information on this species, see the IUCN species account.


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

From Laura Blackburn, Priya Nanjappa, and Michael J. Lannoo (2001) US Amphibian Dist. Maps (

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2020. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 24 Oct 2020.

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