California Slender Salamander, Batrachoseps attenuatus

The California slender salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus) is a member of the Plethodontidae family of salamander species. The species is native to California and southwest Oregon. The California slender salamander ranges from central California, north along the coast and ranges into Oregon and in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The California slender salamander grows to lengths between 3 to 5.5 inches. As its name implies, a slim body with short limbs gives this salamander an almost wormlike appearance. The species characteristics include, long tails and narrow, slender heads. Showing overall black or dark colors, red, brown, yellow or tan colors form an erratic dorsal (upper side) stripe. The belly side is dark with small white specks. While most other California salamanders will have five toes on its rear feet, the California slender salamanders only have four on both its front and hind feet.

The California slender salamander is a lungless species; it breathes through its skin. This feature forces them to live in moist, land environments. The California slender is a nocturnal species, as well.

The typical diet of the California slender salamander includes springtails, small insects, snails and spiders. The salamander will use a sit-and-wait approach when hunting and its projectile tongue catches its prey.

Reproduction takes place on land. Between 4 and 13 eggs are typically laid per clutch and it is common to take place during October and November. The female salamanders will not stay with its eggs until they hatch, it does find damp areas under rocks, logs, and debris to hide them.

Image Caption: California slender salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus). Credit: Kaldari/Wikipedia (public domain)