Sequoia Slender Salamander, Batrachoseps kawia

The Sequoia slender salamander (Batrachoseps kawia) is a member of the Plethodontidae family. The species is native to California, ranging the western Sierra Mountains in California and the Kaweah River in Tulare County, California. The Sequoia slender salamander inhabits deciduous woodlands, mossy green areas and coniferous forests.

The Sequoia slender salamander typically reaches lengths between 1.3 to 1.8 inches long from snout to vent.  As its common name implies, its small, slim body gives this salamander an almost wormlike appearance. Characteristics of the species include a narrow head, short limbs and a very long tail.

Commonly, the species is a dark brown or black color with white speckling covering its sides. Its belly side is often lighter in color than the rest of its body. Although other California salamanders usually have 5 toes, the Sequoia slender salamander only has 4 toes on both its front and rear feet.

The Sequoia slender salamander is a lung-less species; it breathes through its skin. This feature forces the salamander to find and dwell in moist, land environments. The species is nocturnal and can be found most often hiding beneath logs, bark, leaf litter and rocks.

Diets of the Sequoia slender salamander are unknown, although the species is known for using the sit-and-wait approach when feeding. Its projectile tongue is used when catching its prey.

Image Caption: Sequoia slender salamander (Batrachoseps kawia). Credit: Chris Brown, USGS/Wikipedia (public domain)