San Gabriel Slender Salamander, Batrachoseps gabrieli

The San Gabriel slender salamander (Batrachoseps gabrieli) is a member of the Plethodontidae family of salamander species. The species is native to California and it is found ranging from the San Gabriel Canyon, in the eastern San Gabriel Mountains to Kimbark and Waterman Canyon in the extreme western San Bernardino Mountains.

The San Gabriel slender salamander grows to lengths between 1.5 and 2 inches. As its name implies, its small, slim body gives this salamander an almost wormlike appearance. Characteristics of the species include a broad head, long limbs, large feet and a tapered tail.

Dorsally the San Gabriel slender salamander is black. An erratic copper or orange stripe runs down the salamander’s back. White flecks or speckles can be found on the belly side.

The San Gabriel slender salamander is a lung-less species; it breathes through its skin. This feature forces them to live in moist, land environments. The species is nocturnal and spends most of its time hiding and burrowing.

The typical diet of the San Gabriel slender salamander includes small invertebrates, specifically ants. The salamander will use a sit-and-wait approach when hunting and its projectile tongue catches its prey.

Reproduction takes place on land. It is presumed that the first heavy rainfall begins the breeding season. Eggs sites and nesting grounds have not been recorded to date; it is assumed eggs are hidden well and deep. The San Gabriel salamander’s young are hatched fully formed.

Image Caption: San Gabriel slender salamander (Batrachoseps gabrieli). Credit: Robert Goodman, USGS/Wikipedia (public domain)