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Catalog of California Amphibians and Reptiles

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Posted by Will on June 22, 2002 at 06:20:51:

Catalog of California Amphibians and Reptiles
22 June 2002

The following taxonomy list of amphibians and reptiles to California, North American is primarily derived from Crother (2000, Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding, SSAR Herpetological Circular 29), Stebbins (1985, A field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians 2nd ed., Houghton Mifflin Company), Jennings (1987, Annotated Check List of the Amphibians and Reptiles of California, Southwestern Herpetologist’s Society Publication 3), Behler (1979, The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians., New York: Alfred A. Knopf) and Collins (1997, Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians and Reptiles, SSAR Herpetological Circular 25). The checklist written by J.T. Collins is updated regularly on the internet by the Center for North American Herpetology as new discoveries are reported. Many exotic species are introduced into California through human negligence. Most never, establish healthy reproducing populations. But a few, such as Rana catesbeiana, Rana berlandieri, Xenopus laevis, Apalone spinifera, and Hemidactylus turcicus have established thriving populations and consequently have been added to the Catalogue List.

When creating what was thought to be a simple task, shifted into a challenge to form a Catalog of California Amphibians and Reptiles. Crother’s book (2000, Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding, SSAR Herpetological Circular 29) is the most recently published and expresses recommendations of Herpetology designation. However, it appears to have two major faults. Crother advises altering word forms and adding descriptive terms to assist non-herpetologists. Inexplicably, Crother took two words (sea turtle, rat snake, Gopher Snake, Garter Snake, Ground Snake, Lyre Snake, Night Snake, and Sea Snake) and combined them (seaturtle, ratsnake, gophersnake, gartersnake, groundsnake, lyresnake, nightsnake, and seasnake). It is difficult to imagine a greater way to twist the taxonomy of California. If Crother’s terminology becomes standardized, unnecessary confusion will arise. Seaturtle, gartersnake, and others are not English words and not recognized by the majority. Computer processors, dictionaries, high school and college professors will recommend corrections, unfamiliar readers to herpetology articles will question writing style. In effect, it is impractical to take words that have meaning (e.g. sea and turtle) to form a word that has no connotation. If this terminalgy is correct, then why the hestation to combine other species (e.g. Polarbear, Mountainlion, Greatwhiteshark). Perhaps future writings by Crother will promote combining words (e.g. Tigersalamander, Arroyotoad, Leopardfrog, Mudturtle, Nightlizard). In addition, Crother’s book adds descriptive terms to help non-herpetologists determine what type of creatures Loggerhead, Ridley, Green Turtle, Hawksbill, and Leatherback are by adding sea turtle to their titles. If that is the case, consistency is needed, perhaps Crother should define what an Ensatina, newt, spadefoot, softshell, skink, whiptail, and countless other species are to assist novice. In conclusion, Crother could be neglecting his number one rule “Long-established names in widespread use should be retained, regardless of any inaccuracy of description, behavior, habitat, location or family relationship suggested by name, unless there is a compelling and special reason.

CAUDATA (Salamanders)
AMBYSTOMA (Mole Salamanders)
Ambystoma californiense, California Tiger Salamander
Ambystoma gracile, Northwestern Salamander
Crother (2000) and Collins (1997) agree that recognition of any subspecies is not warranted.
Ambystoma macrodactylum, Long-toed Salamander
A. m. croceum, Santa Cruz Long-toed Salamander
A. m. sigillatum, Southern Long-toed Salamander
DICAMPTODON (Pacific Giant Salamanders)
Dicamptodon ensatus, California Giant Salamander
Dicamptodon tenebrosus, Coastal Giant Salamander
Conflict of standard name recognition. Crother (2000) advises Coastal Giant Salamander, while Collins (1997) Pacific Giant Salamander. Historically, Dicamptodon ensatus standard name was Pacific Giant Salamander. However, Dicamptodon ensatus is now titled California Giant Salamander. Therefore, Dicamptodon tenebrosus is a new species hence assigned a new standard name.

RHYACOTRITON (Torrent Salamander)
Rhyacotriton variegatus, Southern Torrent Salamander
TARICHA (Pacific Newts)
Taricha granulosa, Rough-skinned Newt
Conflict of standard name recognition. Crother (2000) advises Rough-skinned Newt, while Collins (1997) advises Roughskin Newt. Collins (1997) references to countless species in verb past tense (e.g. Long-toed Salamander, Large-blotched Ensatina, Mountain Yellow-legged Frog) but curiously shifts.
T. g. granulosa, Rough-skinned Newt
Conflict of standard name recognition. Crother (2000) advises subspecies as Rough-skinned Newt, while Collins (1997) advises Northern Roughskin Newt. However, this subspecies encompasses both north and south limits of its distribution rendering the “North” of its title insignificant. In addition, see comments regarding verb past tense: Taricha granulosa, Rough-skinned Newt.
Taricha torosa, California Newt
T. t. sierrae, Sierra Newt
T. t. torosa, Coast Range Newt
Taricha rivularis, Red-bellied Newt

PLETHODON (Woodland Salamanders)
Plethodon dunni, Dunn’s Salamander
Plethodon elongatus, Del Norte Salamander
Plethodon stormi, Siskiyou Mountains Salamander

ENSATINA (Ensatina)
Ensatina eschscholtzii, Ensatina
E. e. croceater, Yellow-blotched Ensatina
E. e. eschscholtzii, Monterey Ensatina
E. e. klauberi, Large-blotched Ensatina
E. e. oregonensis, Oregon Ensatina
E. e. picta, Painted Ensatina
E. e. platensis, Sierra Nevada Ensatina
E. e. xanthoptica, Yellow-eyed Ensatina

ANEIDES (Climbing Salamanders)
Aneides ferreus, Clouded Salamander
Aneides flavipunctatus, Black Salamander
A. f. flavipunctatus, Speckled Black Salamander
A. f. niger, Santa Cruz Black Salamander
Aneides lugubris, Arboreal Salamander
Aneides vagrans, Wandering Salamander

BATRACHOSEPS (Slender Salamanders)
Batrachoseps campi, Inyo Mountains Salamander
Batrachoseps diabolicus, Hell Hollow Slender Salamander
Batrachoseps gabrieli, San Gabriel Mountains Slender Salamander
Conflict of standard name recognition. Crother (2000) advises San Gabriel Mountains Slender Salamander, while Collins (1997) advises San Gabriel Slender Salamander.
Batrachoseps gavilanensis, Gabilan Mountains Slender Salamander
Batrachoseps gregarious, Gregarious Slender Salamander
Batrachoseps incognitus, San Simeon Slender Salamander
Batrachoseps kawia, Sequoia Slender Salamander
Batrachoseps luciae, Santa Lucia Slender Salamander
Batrachoseps major, Garden Slender Salamander
B. m. aridus, Desert Slender Salamander
Crother (2000) sites recent revisions by Wake and Jockusch (2000, Biology of Plethodontid Salamanders, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers) recognizing this salamander as a subspecies of Batrachoseps major.
B. m. major, Garden Slender Salamander
Batrachoseps minor, Lesser Slender Salamander
Batrachoseps nigriventris, Black-bellied Slender Salamander
Batrachoseps pacificus, Channel Islands Slender Salamander
Batrachoseps regius, Kings River Slender Salamander
Batrachoseps relictus, Relictual Slender Salamander
Batrachoseps simatus, Kern Canyon Slender Salamander
Batrachoseps stebbinsi, Tehachapi Slender Salamander
Batrachoseps attenuatus, California Slender Salamander
HYDROMANTES (Web-toed Salamanders)
Hydromantes brunus, Limestone Salamander
Hydromantes platycephalus, Mount Lyell Salamander
Hydromantes shastae, Shasta Salamander

ANURA (Frogs)
ASCAPHUS (Tailed Frog)
Ascaphus truei, Tailed Frog

SCAPHIOPUS (Southern Spadefoot)
Scaphiopus couchii, Couch’

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