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Santa Cruz Long-toed Salamander Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum


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Santa Cruz Long-toed Salamander
credit: Lopezmts

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Family: Ambystomidae, Mole Salamanders view all from this family

Description 4-6 5/8" (10-17 cm). Slender, with long toes. Black above, with with series of yellow to orange markings on back. Belly sooty. Tubercles on feet. Costal grooves, 12-13.

Endangered Status The Santa Cruz Long-toed Salamander, a subspecies of the Long-toed Salamander, is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as endangered in California. This salamander was discovered in 1954, and its populations were probably already low at that time. It breeds in only a few small ponds in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties, and residential and agricultural development have adversely affected its habitat. Currently the Santa Cruz Long-toed Salamander lives in protected lands set aside as the Ellicot Slough National Wildlife Refuge, and is closely monitored by biologists.

Breeding January to March, in temporary ponds as they are filled with water. Eggs laid singly on spike rushes or other plants near surface of water. Hatching larvae are 1/2" (11 mm) long; transform June to August or following summer, at 2-4" (48-98 mm).

Habitat Chaparral and pine-oak woodlands; breeds in ephemeral pools.

Range Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties, California.

Discussion Adults live mainly underground in woodlands, moving to rain-fed breeding ponds during winter rains.