AmphibiaWeb - Batrachoseps altasierrae


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Batrachoseps altasierrae Jockusch, Martínez-Solano, Hansen & Wake, 2012
Greenhorn Mountains Slender Salamander
Subgenus: Batrachoseps
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Batrachoseps
Species Description: Jockusch EL, Martinez-Solano I, Hansen RW, Wake DB. 2012. Molecular and morphological diversification of slender salamanders (Caudata: Plethodontidae: Batrachoseps) in the southern Sierra Nevada with descriptions of two new species. Zootaxa 3190:1-30

© 2018 William Flaxington (1 of 5)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account
NatureServe Use NatureServe Explorer to see status.
National Status Sensitive Species (US Forest Service)
Regional Status Species of Special Concern (State of California)
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Batrachoseps altasierrae is a small, slender salamander with a narrow head, typical of its genus. Snout-vent length ranges from 35.6 - 40.4 mm in males, 36.6 - 43.6 mm in females. Eyes do not protrude beyond the jaw line. There are relatively few teeth, with vomerine teeth arranged somewhat patchily. B. altasierrae has 17 - 18 costal grooves, and 18 - 19 trunk vertebrae. The limbs are short, with narrow hands and feet. Digits are short, but well formed. Digits have expanded tips with subterminal pads, and little webbing. Relative finger and toe length (decreasing) is 3, 2, 4, 1. The tail is longer than the body, and mostly cylindrical along its length, tapering at the tip (Jockusch et al. 2012).

B. altasierrae can be distinguished from other closely related Batrachoseps species by its relatively low number of maxillary teeth and trunk vertebrae.

Coloration (in preservation): The dorsum and limbs are a dark blackish-brown, with the ventral surfaces a lighter brown. A dark brown to reddish-brown stripe runs down the dorsal surface (Jockusch et al. 2012).

Color in life is overall dark with a dark reddish back set off with a lateral dark brown to black stripe; its sides are flecked with tiny white speckling which continue onto its limbs.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: United States

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


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
B. altasierrae is found at relatively high elevations in the southern Sierra Nevada (between 900 and 2440 m above sea level). Populations range from northern Lower Kern River Canyon to the Tule River drainage and the Little Kern River drainage (Kern and Tulare counties, California, USA). Populations are also present on the western margin of the Kern Plateau. B. altasierrae is not sympatric with any other Batrachoseps species.

B. altasierrae inhabit coniferous forests, specifically forests containing pine, fir, and incense cedar (Jockusch et al. 2012).

Trends and Threats
B. altasierrae is a Species of Special Concern in the State of California and Sensitive Species according to the U.S. Forest Service, primarily because B. altasierrae was previously included in B. relictus. As of 2012, populations seem healthy throughout the range (Jockusch et al. 2012).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Climate change, increased UVB or increased sensitivity to it, etc.

The species authorities are Elizabeth L. Jockusch, Iñigo Martínez-Solano, Robert W. Hansen, and David B. Wake (2012).

The species epithet altasierrae comes from the name of a hamlet at the summit of the Greenhorn Mountains, Alta Sierra. B. altasierrae is common in that area.

B. altasierrae populations were considered to be B. relictus prior to the description of B. altasierrae in 2012.

B. altasierrae most closely related to B. kawia, which inhabits similar habitats north of the Tule River drainage (Jockusch et al. 2012).


Jockusch, E.L., Martínez-Solano, I., Hansen, R.W., Wake, D.B. (2012). ''Morphological and molecular diversification of slender salamanders (Caudata: Plethodontidae: Batrachoseps) in the southern Sierra Nevada of California with descriptions of two new species.'' Zootaxa, 3190, 1-30.

Originally submitted by: John Cavagnaro (first posted 2012-09-24)
Edited by: Michelle S. Koo (2012-10-28)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2012 Batrachoseps altasierrae: Greenhorn Mountains Slender Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 21, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 21 Apr 2024.

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