Monday, March 3, 2014

CA slender salamander ~ 03/03/14 ~ Purisima Creek

Cutie.  This is a fairly small salamander, thinner than the width of a pencil.  It looks pretty much like the Santa Lucia Mountains slender salamander (B. luciae) that I found April 29, 2012 as I was digging around at home.  Well, okay, this one is not covered in dirt and has a longer tail.  Field markings are almost no help for several look-alikes, because they appear to have just as much variation within as between spp.  Thanks to the expert ID I received from Gary Nafis @ California Herps and John Sullivan @ Wild Herps for my B. luciae, I understand the currently acceptable way to distinguish slender salamanders is to pinpoint location found.  Here's a map of Batrachoseps spp. distribution.  It doesn't seem very intuitive, but whatever, I'll go with it.  I kinda wish I had retaken molecular genetics back when I transferred to a larger (read: better funded) university, because I might have appreciated what the PCR craze is all about.  As it is, the statistical models, like Tajima’s D and Fu’s Fs, sound like rap names to me.  Eh, I guess I'm getting old and staid.


Jennifer said...

Never saw a salamander that looked like that. I like the red stripe!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

J, I think you'd probably have loads of these hidden in the dirt just outside your kitchen window.