Name: Coast Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus)
Order: Salamanders (Caudata)
Family: Giant Salamanders (Dicamptodontidae)
What they look like
- One of the larger terrestrial salamanders can reach a length of up to 35 cm.
- Larvae and adults in the aquatic form are brown, have short gills.
- Terrestrial adults are usually brown and black and marbled all over, except their throat and legs.
Where they live
- View a map of where they live.
- The coast giant salamanders are only found in the Pacific Northwest. In Washington State they are found in the Cascade Mountains, the Willapa Hills of southwestern Washington, Long Island
- Prefer clear, cold mountain streams next to forests or in mountain lakes and ponds.
- During the day they stay underground or under rocks in the streams, but come out in the evenings onto the stream bottom.
- Some terrestrial forms will move out of the stream and stay in the forest undergrowth near water sources.
- Eggs are laid one at a time under rocks and logs in slower moving parts of streams usually during May.
- The female protects eggs.
- Larvae take 18-24 months to go through metamorphosis.
Cool Biology Facts
- Metamorphose into terrestrial adults, but sometimes mature and reproduce in the aquatic form. This is called paedomorphosis or neoteny
- Marbled pattern is usually the easiest way to identify them, although the larvae form are easily mixed up with the Cope’s Giant Salamander.
- Main threats include habitat loss and habitat changes from logging. View their status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.