AmphibiaWeb - Batrachoseps aridus

(Currently subspecies of Batrachoseps major.)
Batrachoseps aridus
Desert Slender Salamander
Subgenus: Batrachoseps
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
Taxonomic Notes: Wake and Jockusch (2000 Biol Plethodontid Salamanders) & Jockusch and Wake (2002, Biol J Linn Soc) treated B. aridus as a subspecies of Batrachoseps major. Because of its status as an Endangered Species, AmphibiaWeb recognizes it as a full species. The taxon is under continued study (Martinez-Solano et al. 2012 Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 63: 131–149).

© 1993 Mario Garcia-Paris (1 of 1)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Least Concern (LC)
NatureServe Status Use NatureServe Explorer to see status.
National Status Endangered
Regional Status This is a state Endangered species (listed in 1971)



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (149 records).

This is relatively long-legged, broad-headed slender slamander. The tail is short. There are usually 16-19 costal grooves. The dorsal surfaces contain silver and copper flecks of pigment, giving adults a pale gray, whitish, or pinkish coloration. The underside of the tail is tan that contrasts with the dark belly. The subadults are black to dark brownabove, often with little or no frosty to copper tinge. The broad head, long limbs,and ususally silvery to grayish tinge on the dorsal surfaces distinguish this slender salamander from others. This description can be seen in better detail in Stebbins (1985).

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.
View Bd and Bsal data (149 records).
This salamander is endemic to California, USA. Localities include: Hidden Palm Canyon, Riverside Co., California. A population of slender salamanders in nearby Guadalupe Canyon, Riverside Co., may also be of this species. The vegetation in the locality where this species was first collected contains cacti, creosote bush, manzanita, and other xeric vegetation on the slopes, along with willow, Washington palms, mesquite, grasses, mosses, maidenhair ferns, and other vegetation on the cliff like walls of the canyon. The canyon walls contain seepages that provide wet microhabitats for the salamander. Specimens have been collected beneath sheets of limestone and beneath rocks at the lower levels of the cliffs (Petranka 1998). They can also be found in rock crevices and holes in moist soil on the canyon walls (Stebbins 1985).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
This salamander is completely terrestrial, like the others in the same genus. Little to no information is available for this species.

Trends and Threats
Because of the very limited distribution, this animal is considered to beendangered on the state and federal level (Stebbins 1985), (Petranka 1998).

The only known habitat is now an ecology reserve that has been purchased bythe California Department of Fish and Game and can only be entered by permit. Almost no published data are available on the ecology and natural history of this species. Data in Brame (1970) suggest that both malesand females become sexually mature when they reach about 30-31 mm. SVL.Immobility is the primary anti-predator defense of this species (Stebbins 1985).


Brame, A. H., Jr (1970). ''A new species of Batrachoseps (Slender Salamander) from the desert of southern California.'' Contributions in Science. Los Angeles County Museum, 200, 1-11.

Petranka, J. W. (1998). Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. and London.

Stebbins, R. C. (1985). A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.

Originally submitted by: Yair Chaver (first posted 1999-02-16)
Edited by: Vance Vredenburg (2001-04-23)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2001 Batrachoseps aridus: Desert Slender Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Sep 19, 2021.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2021. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 19 Sep 2021.

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