AmphibiaWeb - Aneides hardii


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Aneides hardii (Taylor, 1941)
Sacramento Mountains Salamander
Subgenus: Aneides
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Plethodontinae
genus: Aneides
Species Description: Taylor, E. H. 1941. "A new plethodont salamander from New Mexico." Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 54, 77–79.
Aneides hardii
© 2011 Todd Pierson (1 of 10)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
NatureServe Use NatureServe Explorer to see status.
National Status None
Regional Status Listed Threatened in New Mexico
conservation needs Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .


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Aneides hardii is a plethodontid salamander from south-central New Mexico, United States of America, with a snout-vent length ranging from 40 - 58 mm. Females are typically smaller than males, having an average snout-vent length of 44.5 mm compared to 48.4 for males. Total length ranges from 25.5 - 100.7 mm, with tails being slightly shorter than the snout-vent length. In males especially, the temporal region on the head is enlarged by the jaw muscles. The trunk and tail are round. There are 14 or 15 costal grooves, with 2 - 4.5 between appressed limbs. The digits are short, with four digits in each forelimb and five in each hind limb. The toe tips are somewhat rounded (Scarpetta 2019).

In life, the dorsum is blackish-brown or brown with greenish-gray to bronze mottling and gold flecks (Scarpetta 2019).

The three populations of A. hardii on the Capitan, Sacramento, and White Mountains, each have differences in average snout-vent lengths and average snout-vent lengths relative to average tail length. However, these values overlap enough to make individuals’ original populations unidentifiable (Scarpetta 2019). Among Aneides, A. hardii has the most sexually dimorphic snout-vent length and snout length. Males generally have a longer snout-vent length and wider head width (Staub 2020). Lastly, the largest adults may lack the greenish mottling on the dorsum. Juveniles may have a bronze-brown dorsal stripe (Scarpetta 2019).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: United States

U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: New Mexico

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Aneides hardii occurs in the Capitan, Sacramento, and White Mountains in Lincoln and Otero counties of south-central New Mexico in the United States of America, at elevations above 2,400 m (Scarpetta 2019). Winters are long and harsh and summers are short and wet. June is a dry month, while most of the annual precipitation occurs during September and August (Williams 1978). Aneides hardii inhabits moist areas with mainly Douglas fir and Engelmann spruce trees, and are often found under logs, litter, and debris. Above the treeline, A. hardii occupies areas with mats of moss and lichen. The range of the species is discontinuous, instead having abundant local populations where the habitat is suitable (Scarpetta 2019).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The north and east facing slopes of this species' habitat are where A. hardii may be most readily found. It emerges in the period of late June to July, and is abundant during periods of summer rain. The inside of rotting logs, in old rockslides, underneath bark, boards and logs are ideal habitats for this salamander. Hollows and decaying logs are locations where brooding females may be observed (Stebbins 2003).

Mating occurs underground in June. Oviposition occurs once every three years in June and July. Eggs hatch during August and September, during which most of the annual precipitation occurs. Aneides hardii egg clutches contain 4.7 eggs on average and eggs have a diameter ranging from 6.4 - 9.1 mm. Females brood the eggs. Of Aneides, A. hardii produces some of the smallest clutch sizes and the largest eggs (Williams 1978).

As a member of the family Plethodontidae, A. hardii reproduces via direct development.

Trends and Threats
Wildfires have had little effect on salamander populations, but severe fires, especially in combination with logging activity, can make surface habitats uninhabitable for years, causing salamanders to retreat underground (Scarpetta 2019). Aneides hardii populations are considered stable, but in 1994 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service noted that labeling the species as “Endangered” or “Threatened” may be appropriate. Further field study is necessary to determine if this is necessary (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1994). Aneides hardii has a lower thermal range compared to other salamanders, causing changes in soil temperature to impact the population more heavily. Higher soil temperatures observed at the Sacramento Mountains are associated with declining salamander populations. Silviculture and logging tend to result in higher temperatures and decreased moisture in habitats by reducing canopy covering (Haan et al. 2009).


From Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood analyses on the nuclear genes recombination activating gene 1 (RAG1), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and proopiomelanocortin (POMC), A. hardii is sister to the clade composed of A. ferreus, A. flavipunctatus, A. iecanus, A. klamathensis, A. lugubris, A. niger, and A. vagrans (Staub 2020).

Analysis of cyt B mtDNA showed three genetically distinct lineages for the three A. hardii populations (on the Capitan, White, and Scaramento Mountains). The isolation of these three populations is due to geographic barriers as well as the sedentary lifestyle of A. hardii (Osborne 2019).

Aneides hardii is named after Dilbert Elmo Hardy, the original collector (Scarpetta 2019).


Haan, S.S., Desmond, M.J., Gould, W.R., Ward, J.P. (2009). "Influence of habitat characteristics on detected site occupancy of the New Mexico endemic Sacramento Mountains Salamander, Aneides Hardii." Journal of Herpetology, 41, 1-8. [link]

Osborne, M.J., Cordova, S.J., Cameron, A.C., Turner, T.F. (2019). "Isolation by elevation: mitochondrial divergence among sky island populations of Sacramento Mountain salamander (Aneides hardii)." Conserv Genet, 20, 545-556. [link]

Scarpetta, S.G. (2019). "Aneides hardii." Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles, 921, 1-23. [link]

Staub, N.L. (2021). "The evolution of derived monomorphism from sexual dimorphism: a case study on salamanders." Integrative Organismal Biology, 3(1), obaa044. [link]

Stebbins, R. C. (2003). Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1994). "Animal candidate review for listing as endangered or threatened species." Federal Register, 59(219), 58995. [link]

Williams, S. R. (1978). "Comparative reproduction of the endemic New Mexico plethodontid salamanders, Plethodon neomexicanus and Aneides hardii (Amphibia, Urodela, Plethodontidae)." Journal of Herpetology, 12(4), 471-476. [link]

Originally submitted by: Kevin Gin (first posted 2004-04-27)
Description by: Madeline Ahn (updated 2022-11-30)
Distribution by: Michelle S. Koo, Madeline Ahn (updated 2022-11-30)
Life history by: Madeline Ahn (updated 2022-11-30)
Larva by: Madeline Ahn (updated 2022-11-30)
Trends and threats by: Madeline Ahn (updated 2022-11-30)
Comments by: Madeline Ahn (updated 2022-11-30)

Edited by: Tate Tunstall, Ann T. Chang (2022-11-30)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Aneides hardii: Sacramento Mountains Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 15, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 15 Jun 2024.

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