AmphibiaWeb - Batrachoseps relictus


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Batrachoseps relictus Brame & Murray, 1968
Relictual Slender Salamander
Subgenus: Batrachoseps
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Batrachoseps
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.
Batrachoseps relictus
© 2012 William Flaxington (1 of 15)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Data Deficient (DD)
NatureServe Use NatureServe Explorer to see status.
National Status None
Regional Status None
conservation needs Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .


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Moderately long limbs with its small, short body generally accompany the dark colored Batrachoseps relictus . Typical size of B. relictus is normally 3.5-4.7 cm in length. There are usually 16-20 costal grooves with 7-9.5 costal folds between the toes on addressed appendages on this species. A colored dorsal stripe may be present in some individuals, ranging from red to yellow or dark brown. The stripe is often difficult to identify in large individuals.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: United States

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

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View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
amphibiandisease logo View Bd and Bsal data (1 records).
This western species of salamander may be found at higher elevations, associated with areas of pine, cedar, fir, and incense. Deciduous oaks may also sometimes provide a suitable habitat. B. relictus has also been found in the rocky habitat of Lower Kern Canyon in Kern, CO, although it has not been documented in recent years.


The Kern Canyon Slender Salamander may be distinguished from B. relictus by possessing a relatively larger trunk of 20-21 costal grooves. Light flecks on a dark ventral also are characteristic of the Kern Canyon Slender Salamander.

The relatively small fore and hind feet of the Gregarious Slender Salamander distinguish it from B. relictus.

This species account was written based on the description in (Stebbins 2003).

See another account at


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

Originally submitted by: Kevin Gin (first posted 2004-02-26)
Edited by: Tate Tunstall (2004-04-05)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2004 Batrachoseps relictus: Relictual Slender Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 17, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 17 Jun 2024.

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