Olympic Torrent Salamander

October 23, 2015
Heidi Rockney and Karen Wu
Olympic Torrent Salamander

Olympic Torrent Salamander  

Photo: Dennis Paulson

Name: Olympic Torrent Salamander (Rhyacotriton olympicus)
Order: Salamanders (Caudata)
Family: Torrent Salamanders (Rhyacotritonidae)

What they look like

  • Up to 10cm.
  • Medium to dark brown; may have a few small light spots on sides and small dark spots on tail
  • Underside is yellow and usually has dark spots
  • Short tails, stubby limbs, fairly short snouts and large eyes
  • Males have large square lobes behind their cloaca.

Where they live

  • View a map of where they live.
  • Are only found in the Olympic mountains of Washington State.
  • Prefer edges of clear, cold mountain streams in old growth forests.
  • Can be found in spray zones of waterfalls and will come onto land on really wet nights.

Breeding

  • Not much is known about the breeding of the Olympic Torrent Salamander, it is assumed to have similar breeding habits of the Columbia Torrent Salamander and Cascade Torrent Salamander.

Cool Biology Facts

  • Have reduced lungs and breathe mostly though their skin
  • Can live up to ten years!  It takes about 5-6 years before they reach sexual maturity.
  • When disturbed will roll over and show yellow undersides in an attempt to startle attacker.

Threats

  • Listing is due to the fact that they are only found in one small area in the Pacific Northwest and any loss of habitat can be extremely detrimental to the species.
  • Habitat loss and disturbance from logging is main threat.
  • View their status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Distribution Map

Map of Olympic Torrent Salamander distribution in Washington state. Learn more on the NatureMapping Foundation website.

Explore more of the Amphibians & Reptiles of Washington or check out All About Amphibians.

Photo: Dennis Paulson

Back to Top