Putting Slender Salamanders in the NAHERP Database

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jonathan
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Putting Slender Salamanders in the NAHERP Database

Post by jonathan » August 1st, 2012, 9:36 am

I made a post on the FHF about the relationships between slender salamanders:

http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=12807

While I was making the charts, I included how many of each species had been entered into the database. It turned out that there were a clear categories of slender salamander record frequency. These definitely aren't the "focus" of many herpers, but I think it would be good to make a stronger effort to find more localities for a lot of the species, especially since several are being studied for potential Federal or State endangered species protection.



Recorded often

661 records - California Slender Salamander (B. attenuatus)
480 records - Garden Slender Salamander (B. major)
283 records - Black-bellied Slender Salamander (B. nigriventris)

All three of these species are wide-ranging and common. Still, it's nice to keep tabs on them, and it would be good to get some records in the counties that don't have any yet. Each may be split into multiple species in the future, so it would be good to have records from the entire extent of their range.




Recorded occasionally

53 records - Gregarious Slender Salamander (B. gregarius)
45 records - Gabilan Mountains Slender Salamander (B. gavilanensis)
30 records - Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander (B. luciae)

These species have smaller ranges, but are locally common where they are found.




Rarely recorded

19 records - San Gabriel Mountains Slender Salamander (B. gabrieli)
11 records - Tehachapi Slender Salamander (B. stebbinsi)
8 records - Hell Hollow Slender Salamander (B. diabolicus)
5 records - Inyo Mountains Salamander (B. campi)
5 records - Sequoia Slender Salamander (B. kawia)
4 records - Kings River Slender Salamander (B. regius)
4 records - Kern Plateau Salamander (B. robustus)
4 records - Kern Canyon Slender Salamander (B. simatus)
4 records - Fairview Slender Salamander (B. bramei)
4 records - Lesser Slender Salamander (B. minor)
3 records - Channel Islands Slender Salamander (B. pacificus)
3 records - San Simeon Slender Salamander (B. incognitus)
3 records - Greenhorn Mountains Slender Salamander (B. altasierrae)

These species are found from limited localities in restricted ranges, mostly in places where people rarely herp. (The exceptions are the two closest to Los Angeles, which get more records as a result.) For the other species, only 2 or 3 people have entered each into the database. Those who are sitting on any data at all for these species should definitely enter them into the database, but by far the most helpful information would be new localities. Several of these species are listed on California's endangered species list or are being suggested for listing on the Federal ESA list, and so more localities would be helpful and would receive consideration in listing decisions.




Never Recorded

Relictual Slender Salamander (B. relictus)
Desert Slender Salamander (B. major aridus)
Vandenberg Air Force Base Slender Salamander (undescribed)

Obviously, it would be nice to at least get these into the database once, but all three are only known from a couple localities each, so unless you are a scientific researcher on official business, it might be better just to leave those spots alone. If you find a new locality for any of the three, though, that would be fantastic.

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Re: Putting Slender Salamanders in the NAHERP Database

Post by jonathan » August 1st, 2012, 9:41 am

Here are the counties that the NAHERP database is missing slender records from:

California Slender Salamander (B. attenuatus) - none from Shasta, Tehama, Glenn, Butte, Colusa, Sutter, Yuba, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Trinity, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, or Stanislaus Counties

Garden Slender Salamander (B. major) - none from Tijuana, Rosarito, or Ensenada in Baja

Black-bellied Slender Salamander (B. nigriventris) - none from Monterey, San Benito, or Fresno Counties

Gregarious Slender Salamander (B. gregarius) - none from Fresno County

Gabilan Mountains Slender Salamander (B. gavilanensis) - none from San Luis Obispo, Santa Clara, or Fresno Counties

Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander (B. luciae) - none from San Luis Obispo County

Hell Hollow Slender Salamander (B. diabolicus) - none from El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras, or Tuolumne Counties

Kings River Slender Salamander (B. regius) - none from Tulare County

Kern Plateau Salamander (B. robustus) - none from Inyo County

Greenhorn Mountains Slender Salamander (B. altasierrae) - none from Tulare County

Relictual Slender Salamander (B. relictus) - none from Kern County

Desert Slender Salamander (B. major aridus) - none from Riverside County

Vandenberg Air Force Base Slender Salamander (undescribed) - none from Santa Barbara County

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Re: Putting Slender Salamanders in the NAHERP Database

Post by RobertH » August 1st, 2012, 11:36 am

Excellent work, Jonathan :thumb:

Robert

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Re: Putting Slender Salamanders in the NAHERP Database

Post by Robert Hansen » August 1st, 2012, 3:37 pm

Jonathan:

Thanks for the compilation. I'd like to offer two points. The first is that NAFHA records are one piece of the data puzzle. The majority of specimens/locality data reside in museum collections. In looking only at NAFHA records, one can get a very misleading view of "data deficiency" or distributional gaps. When taken in concert with NAFHA records, the picture changes substantially. For example, I have 114 records for gregarius from Fresno County vs. none in the NAFHA database, 60 regius records vs. 4 in NAFHA, or 160 records for robustus vs. 4 in NAFHA. This distinction is important for another reason that you alluded to, in part, that of habitat sensitivity. There is little to be gained by attempting to "record" things like simatus, bramei, or stebbinsi just for the sake of finding them (nearly always where they're already known to occur), given how easy it can be to disturb their microhabitat. The range of simatus, for example, is pretty clearly constrained by habitat limits within the Kern River Canyon and it's unlikely we'll find any truly "new" populations; but searching for them, even by the most well-intentioned among us, does impact their habitat. And in the case of the recently re-described relictus, this will probably qualify for federal endangered or threatened status given its very restricted known range, and frankly, it would be best for the salamanders if they and their habitat were simply left alone. On the other hand, people should be encouraged to explore "new" areas. In such places, the odds are slim for finding range extensions or filling significant range gaps (the low-hanging fruit has been picked), but it can happen as shown by the NAFHA trip to Tejon Ranch in 2011, during which an important new population of Tehachapi Slender Salamanders was discovered.

Cheers,

Bob

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Re: Putting Slender Salamanders in the NAHERP Database

Post by jonathan » August 1st, 2012, 7:31 pm

Thank you much for that Bob, and I'd agree with those points.

I'll add in that I do believe there are a number of species (stebbinsi, gabrieli, campi, robustus, regius come to mind first) where range extensions are likely and range gaps exist. There are probably more things to be found (perhaps new species) in the large gaps between species in the pacificus and diabolicus complexes too. And for relictus, a new locality is certainly very possible and would be very helpful, though there's a huge difference between looking for them in a new locality and looking for them in one of the two known localities. Even attenuatus has significant range gaps to be filled in, though they're not as interesting because the species is known from so many localities already.

So that's why, like I said, I would encourage everyone to enter in all the data they already have (and I know some people are sitting on data for a lot of these species), but to specifically seek out new localities, not just reconfirmations of the already established locales.

A few examples where interesting information has already been gathered recently. An NAHERP member put in an unusual record from Stanislaus County, and now it is being looked at by Wake - it appears likely to be a significant range extension for some species at the least. I'm told that one of the NAHERP records for robustus was a previously unknown locale. And Sam and Chris's work picking up those new locales for stebbinsi seemed to play a real role in the write-up determining that stebbinsi did not need Endangered Species status.

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Re: Putting Slender Salamanders in the NAHERP Database

Post by Calfirecap » August 2nd, 2012, 8:15 pm

Thanks for putting this together Jonathan!

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Re: Putting Slender Salamanders in the NAHERP Database

Post by Fundad » August 3rd, 2012, 4:23 am

For example, I have 114 records for gregarius from Fresno County vs. none in the NAFHA database, 60 regius records vs. 4 in NAFHA, or 160 records for robustus vs. 4 in NAFHA.
Oh NOW your just showing off.. :lol: :lol: :thumb:

There is little to be gained by attempting to "record" things like simatus, bramei, or stebbinsi just for the sake of finding them (nearly always where they're already known to occur), given how easy it can be to disturb their microhabitat. The range of simatus, for example, is pretty clearly constrained by habitat limits within the Kern River Canyon and it's unlikely we'll find any truly "new" populations; but searching for them, even by the most well-intentioned among us, does impact their habitat. And in the case of the recently re-described relictus, this will probably qualify for federal endangered or threatened status given its very restricted known range, and frankly, it would be best for the salamanders if they and their habitat were simply left alone.
Thanks Robert. Members we have a responsibility to heed his advice.
Robert knows more about these salamanders then all of us put together.

Fundad

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Re: Putting Slender Salamanders in the NAHERP Database

Post by FunkyRes » August 3rd, 2012, 9:40 am

jonathan wrote:Here are the counties that the NAHERP database is missing slender records from:

California Slender Salamander (B. attenuatus) - none from Shasta
It is possible they are extirpated here.

They are only known from two isolated localities.

I searched for them at one under conditions that would have produced many in Contra Costa County.
David Wake from UC Berkeley has also searched same locality I have as well as other possible localities.

I know they have been in decline in the Sierra's, it's possible if we only had a few small isolated pops in the 70s when our only known voucheres (all 5 of them) were collected that they are no longer here.

I'll keep looking for them when I can though.

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Re: Putting Slender Salamanders in the NAHERP Database

Post by Mike Rochford » August 3rd, 2012, 5:50 pm

I've added a record for B. relictus. Didn't know it was still possible to add a species for the first time. Anyway, after seeing how limited the habitat is for this species, I agree with Bob that it probably doesn't need to be hunted all the time. I'm actually surprised that it's hanging on there. Very highly grazed and moderately logged area, from what I could tell.

Mike

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Re: Putting Slender Salamanders in the NAHERP Database

Post by FunkyRes » August 3rd, 2012, 10:14 pm

FunkyRes wrote: I know they have been in decline in the Sierra's
I should rephrase that.

I know that they appear to be in decline in the Sierra's. I have not seen an actual study.

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Re: Putting Slender Salamanders in the NAHERP Database

Post by jonathan » August 4th, 2012, 12:45 am

Mike Rochford wrote:I've added a record for B. relictus. Didn't know it was still possible to add a species for the first time.
Well, since the Breckenridge Mountain population was only described as B. relictus this year, and since all other populations appear to be extripated, it's a pretty good candidate for a first-time entry.

I actually have two listed under B. relictus, and there's one more as well, but I believe all of those are actually the newly described B. altasierrae, which Don hasn't gotten around to putting in the database yet.

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Re: Putting Slender Salamanders in the NAHERP Database

Post by hellihooks » August 8th, 2012, 4:45 pm

What's the easternmost record for Blackbellys in the berdoo's? jim

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Re: Putting Slender Salamanders in the NAHERP Database

Post by jonathan » August 8th, 2012, 8:04 pm

hellihooks wrote:What's the easternmost record for Blackbellys in the berdoo's? jim
Here's a dot-locality map. It's not complete though, but I'd have to do too much work to find something better:

Image

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Re: Putting Slender Salamanders in the NAHERP Database

Post by hellihooks » August 9th, 2012, 6:11 am

thx Jonathan,

I don't see any, for Berdoo. I know I saw several above Cal State, a decade ago, but the site has since been bulldozed. But I think there's still small pockets of hab, where they could still persist. I'll keep looking... :D jim

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