This image courtesy
Fun Salamander Links!
Simulations of Salamander Locomotion
Cool Cali Tiger Salamander Pics!!!
Image courtesy of
California Tiger Salamander
The California Tiger Salamander makes its home,
not surprisingly, solely in California. This species' distribution is
limited to the Central Valley and the adjacent foothills, in Coastal Ranges,
and the Santa Rosa Plain in Sonoma County (Center, 2001).
Developement and Lifespan: The larvae of the California Tiger Salamander feed primarily on algae, small srustaceans and mosquito larvae. Larger larvae feed on aquatic insects, assorted invertebrates, and small tadpoles of various Pacific Tree Frog species (Ceneter, 2001). Larvae require a full 3 to 4 months to complete their metamorphosis (Northern, 2001).
Not much is actually known with the regard to A. californiense's
behavior due to the fact that it spends the majority of its life in underground
refuges and burrows. The amphibian will not breed until it reaches maturity,
perhaps 4 to 6 years of age. It is also known that slightly less than
50% of all California Tiger Salamanders usually will not breed more than
once in their entire life. This may be due to instabilities in weather
patterns during the winter-rainy season, for example the climate might
be too dry and the conditions would be wrong for breeding (Kucera, 2001).
Ambystoma californiense is listed on the United States Endangered Species Act list as Endangered. On the ICUN Red List, it is VU A2c, which means it is Vulnerable, and that a population reduction estimated of 20% or more is expected in the next 3 generations or 10 years, mainly due to the decline of habitat quantity and quality.
Habitat Loss and Fragmentation: Due to human expansion, urban development in California has caused drastic reduction of suitable habitat for A. californiense (Natureserve, 2001). Conversion of land into agriculture has also depleted former breeding sites of this salamander. Once moderate grazing areas where vernal pools existed, are now heavily farmed fields (Natureserve, 2001). In addition to habitat loss, the fragmentation of habitats along the coast of California are beginning to effect the movement of california tiger salamanders to more suitable breeding areas (LaMonte, 2001). Vehicular-related mortality to the salamander populations further support fragmentation and loss of mobility (Center, 2001b; Natureserve, 2001). Click here for a map of known A. californiense range within California counties (Center, 2001). Click here for a comparison A. californiense historic and current ranges within Sonoma County, CA (Center, 2001).
Introduced Exotic Predators and Aliens: Predatory fish, such as the Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis), introduced to help control mosquito levels, threaten the stability of california tiger salamander population (LaMonte, 2001). Pesticides may also be contaminiating food sources in vernal pools. Other introduced predators, such as bullfrogs and crayfish, are threatening this endemic species by occupying their breeding grounds (Lardner and Sidenmark, 1996; NatureServe, 2001). The Red Eye Bass, pictured below, was introduced in the 1960s to stock California waters for sportfishing, but its species has negatively affected A. californiense (Fuller, 2001). Also a threat are salamanders released into the wild, thought to be owned as pets, which breed with A. californiense. These aliens threaten to compromise Tiger salamanders' genetic composition, as well as spread new diseases (Center, 1999; NatureServe, 2001).
Global Trends and Future Management: It is estimated that globally, A. californiense has been eliminated from 55-58% of historic breeding sites, and that worldwide 75% of historical vernal pools habitats suitable for breeding have been destroyed (Natureserve, 2001). While these alarming statistics seem to point towards a rapid extinction rate, the ICUN Red List only rates A. californiense as Vulnerable. This may be in part to areas of California that still harbor the salamander; areas where the salamander is deemed as locally common. The threat of fragmentation, however, significantly impacts the future success of this endemic species. Local management methods such as builiding underroad tunnels to increase salamander mobility have been proposed. Maintenance of water levels in vernal pools during the summer would also aid in complete larvae metamorphosis, ensuring the success of future generations (Natureserve, 2001). Conservation efforts such as these will help to limit anthropogenic extinction, and hopefully ensure the survival of biodiversity.
Center for Biological
Diversity. 2001 November 13. California tiger salamander (Ambystoma
Center for Conservation Biology. Stanford University. 1999. California Tiger Salamander Ambystoma californiense http://ccb.stanford.edu/sunri/cts1-1.html Accessed 15 November 2001.
Center for Conservation
Biology. Stanford University. 2001. http://www.stanford.edu/group/CCB/Biodiv/CTS.html
Accessed 2001 November 15.
Fuller, P. Florida Caribbean Science Center, United States Geological Survey. 2001 June 15. http://nas.er.usgs.gov/fishes/accounts/centrarc/mi_coosa.html Accessed 2001 November 15, 2001
Kucera T. California Wildlife Habitat Relationships System California Tiger Salamander Ambystoma californiense. http://www.dfg.ca.gov/whdab/cwhr/A001.html Accessed 2001 November 13.
LaMonte, G. Amphibia Web. April 18, 2001. Ambystoma Californiense California Tiger Salamander. http://elib.cs.berkeley.edu/photos/fauna/sci-Amphibian.html Accessed 2001 November 15
Lardner, B., Sidenmark, J. Aliens Exterminate Amphibians. 1996, May. http://www2.open.ac.uk/biology/froglog/froglog-17-2.html Accessed 2001 November 15.
NatureServe: An online encyclopedia of life 2001. Version 1.5. Arlington, Virginia, USA: Association for Biodiversity Information. Available: http://www.natureserve.org/ Accessed 2001 November 15.
Prairie Wildlife Research Center. 2001 September 6. California tiger
Accessed 2001 November 13.
Author: Justin Fuller, Molly McMahon, Dara Wentworth
Acanthaster planci Apis mellifera Capybara Chimpanzee Danaus plexippus Exciting Cephalopods Green Sea Turtle (H-R,K) Green Sea Turtle (B,M,C) Green Serpent Star Holothuroidea Hyenas Latimeria chalumnae Mudpuppy Northern Leopard Frog Pink Seafan Salamanders Scyphozoa Tuatara
This website is part of a Biology 26 class project on the conservation of global biodiversity.