Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Red Car Property: Not Earthworms

Photos: Jonathan Vandiveer, January 25, 2015. Vandiveer's son found 2 Slender Salamanders (Batrachoseps) under a rock at the India Street entrance to the Red Car Property. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

There are 21 species of Slender Salamanders listed on California Herps, an excellent source for identifying & learning more about reptiles & amphibians found in California.  These are likely Garden Slender Salamanders.  Vandiveer found a pair hiding under a pot his backyard a few years ago.

Slender Salamanders are terrestrial salamanders found under rocks, logs & leaf litter.   A "lungless salamander," they breathe through their skin & mouth tissues.  They are nocturnal, most often found in the daytime hiding under rocks in moist areas.  It was surprising to find these guys at India St, where the environment is more dry year round.  Usually they turn up in Red Car Canyon where it tends to be moist year-round.

Photo enlarged from previous photo.  Those are little tiny legs (arrows).  Slender Salamanders are the only species in California to have 4 toes instead of 5 (if you can get that close to count toes).
Also hiding under the rock (in the lower left corner of same photo) was a tiny pale spider. 

Learn more about Slender Salamanders: California Herps