Samwel Shasta Salamander
Species Description: Bingham RE, Papenfuss TJ, Lindstrand III L, Wake DB 2018 Phylogeography and species boundaries in the Hydromantes shastae complex, with description of two new species (Amphibia: Caudata: Plethodontidae). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 161: 403-427.
© 2019 Spencer Riffle (1 of 27)
Because of an authors’ error the list of measurements of the holotype of H. samweli are a repeat of those of the holotype of H. wintu (Bingham et al. 2018). The correct measurements, in millimeters, are presented here (MVZ 170650, an adult female):—Head width 9.2; snout to gular fold (head length) 13.7; head depth at posterior angle of jaw 4.7; eyelid width 2.1; eyelid length 3.4; orbitonarial 2.5; eye to snout 3.4; horizontal orbit diameter 2.8; intercanthal 2.2; interorbital distance 2.8; distance between nuchal groove and gular fold 4.5; snout to forelimb 17.0; internarial 2.7; snout projection beyond mandible 0.9; snout to posterior angle of vent (standard length) 57.0; snout to anterior angle of vent 52.4; axilla to groin 28.8; chest width 7.7; number of costal interspaces between appressed limbs −0.5; tail length 28.2; tail width at base 3.2; tail depth at base 3.4; forelimb length (to tip of longest finger) 15.4; hind limb length 17.2; hand width 4.0; foot width 6.0; length of fifth toe 0.8; length of third toe 1.6. Numbers of teeth: premaxillary + maxillary 57; vomerine 30.
Hydromantes samweli differ from H. shastae and H. wintu in measurements analyzed used multivariate morphometrics but otherwise they can be separated only by allozymic and DNA sequence differences. This species differs from H. shastae in having a shorter digit 3 on the foot (Bingham et al. 2018).
In life, these salamanders have a generally gray to gray-brown coloration with yellowish or reddish highlights, and the gray color has a metallic sheen. The lower surfaces are a flat gray color. In preservative, the specimens are range from various shades of cinnamon and medium fawn to grey (Bingham et al. 2018).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: United States
U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: California
To illustrate the distributions of the H. shastae group, the map shows Hydromantes shastae in green, H. samweli in orange, and H. wintu in pink (after Bingham et al 2018); the previous range map for H. shastae is outlined in black. Unconfirmed localities exists in the southwest and north of the previous range.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Eggs have been found in moist caves during the summer (Gorman 1956).
The species is locally common on the surface during moist periods in fall, winter and spring seasons.
Trends and Threats
The species epithet, “samweli”, is after Samwel Cave, where the species was originally found. The name of the cave, a well-known fossil site, is derived from “Sa-Wal”, which means “Grizzly Bear” in the language of the Winnemen Wintu Tribe, the original inhabitants of the area (Bingham et al. 2018).
Bingham, R. E., Papenfuss, T. J., Lindstrand III, L., Wake, D. B. (2018). ''Phylogeography and species boundaries in the Hydromantes shastae complex, with description of two new species (Amphibia: Caudata: Plethodontidae).'' Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 161(10), 403-427.
Gorman, J. (1956). ''Reproduction in plethodontid salamanders of the genus Hydromantes.'' Herpetologica, 12, 249-259.
Gorman, J. and Camp, C. L. (1953). ''A new cave species of salamander of the genus Hydromantes from California, with notes on habits and habitats.'' Copeia, 1953, 39-43.
Lindstrand III, L., Bainbridge, K., Youngblood G. (2018). ''Habitat characteristics, a range extension, and an elevation record for Shasta salamanders.'' California Fish and Game, 98, 236-241.
Originally submitted by: David B. Wake (first posted 2018-08-14)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2018-08-16)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2018 Hydromantes samweli: Samwel Shasta Salamander <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/8811> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 3, 2022.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2022. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 3 Jul 2022.
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