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California Herping Spring 2017!

This is a discussion on California Herping Spring 2017! within the Field Herping Accounts forums, part of the Fieldwork / Fieldherping category; I went on a really long hike in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California, and found some great, common ...

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Old 18th March 2017   #1 (permalink)
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Cool California Herping Spring 2017!

I went on a really long hike in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California, and found some great, common species

Its spring and the newts are migrating, so finding them is as simple as keeping your eyes on the ground.

(caution: photo heavy post ahead)

First up we have a nice Taricha (granulosa?) found climbing up a fallen redwood tree

Click the image to open in full size.P1060189 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

And a fat T. torosa after that.
Click the image to open in full size.P1060222 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Habitat shot of the creek they were found next to:
Click the image to open in full size.P1060225 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Another stream shot, feeding into the main creek.
Click the image to open in full size.P1060227 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Taricha torosa walking around in some bayleaf litter.
Click the image to open in full size.P1060232 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

(sorry, another stream shot was necessary )
Click the image to open in full size.P1060242 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Younger Taricha found next to the stream above:
Click the image to open in full size.P1060248 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Douglas-Fir grove habitat.
Click the image to open in full size.P1060249 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Newt I flipped in the above habitat:
Click the image to open in full size.P1060254 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Another juvenile, probably Taricha torosa
Click the image to open in full size.P1060259 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Talus where I tried (and failed) to find Aneides (flavipuncatus) niger
Click the image to open in full size.P1060264 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Can anyone figure out if this is T. torosa or T. granulosa?
Click the image to open in full size.P1060270 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

(Same one as above ^)
Click the image to open in full size.P1060278 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Higher elevation, leaving the redwood canyon
Click the image to open in full size.P1060320 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Redwood is now completely replaced by Douglas-Fir
Click the image to open in full size.P1060324 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Taricha (granulosa?) newt I found in the above habitat at 2,500 ft with some interesting eye coloration.
Click the image to open in full size.P1060331 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

(same one ^)
Click the image to open in full size.P1060336 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Taricha (torosa?) found on a pretty steep slope at 2,600 ft.
Click the image to open in full size.P1060367 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Habitat shot
Click the image to open in full size.P1060449 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Drier forest
Click the image to open in full size.P1060455 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Descending back down the ridge.
Click the image to open in full size.P1060457 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

As soon as it returns back to redwood, Ensatina eschscholztii xanthoptica (x eschscholztii?)
can be found again.
Click the image to open in full size.P1060468 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

(same one^)
Click the image to open in full size.P1060472 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Juvenile found close by to the previous individual
Click the image to open in full size.P1060476 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Some "toadpoles" found in a puddle, along with Hyliola regilla tadpoles.
Click the image to open in full size.P1060510 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Forest pond where I assume Taricha breed.
Click the image to open in full size.P1060498 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

More finds from this late winter/spring:

Curled up Batrachoseps
Click the image to open in full size.P1060016 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

More Batrachoseps
Click the image to open in full size.P1050759 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Click the image to open in full size.cropped 2 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

dirty Aneides lugubris;
Click the image to open in full size.P1050374 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

Click the image to open in full size.P1050300 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr
And finally, a Taricha torosa from a population that breeds in this cattle pond:
Click the image to open in full size.P1050279 by Advyth Ramachandran, on Flickr

I want to return to the above pond to look for Ambystoma californiense as well as Rana draytonii and coast range garter snakes.

I'm still looking for Aneides niger and Ambystoma californiense. Also on my list is Taricha rivularis and Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum (although this one is a long-shot)

Expect another herping post shortly after this, I found a few more things



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Old 19th March 2017   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: California Herping Spring 2017!

Wow, these are amazing shots! The area is beautiful. 8D



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Old 19th March 2017   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: California Herping Spring 2017!

Nice finds man! That Taricha you were confused about I would have to say T.torosa, mainly because it looks like its eyes are somewhat extending beyond the head, but I don't remember how reliable that method is to tell the two species apart



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Old 19th March 2017   #4 (permalink)
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Awesome herping trip! Where I live is great for reptile herping, but not as much amphibians so I'd love to plan a trip there sometime. How long were you there?


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Old 19th March 2017   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: California Herping Spring 2017!

thanks guys

Rgrice21, I live fairly close to the area, and my hike was about 4 hours xD



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Old 19th March 2017   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: California Herping Spring 2017!

thanks guys

Lionel, yes I agree, most likely torosa due to the prominence and placement of the eyes.

Rgrice21, I live close to the area, and my hike was 4 hours xD
You should totally visit! California is super diverse in almost everything: rocks, plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds, insects, mushrooms, mosses -- you name it.



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Old 20th March 2017   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: California Herping Spring 2017!

Wow, I wish we still had the calendar contest.



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Old 20th March 2017   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: California Herping Spring 2017!

These are so good to see, especially seeing their natural habitat as well .



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Old 21st March 2017   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: California Herping Spring 2017!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sith the turtle View Post
Nice finds man! That Taricha you were confused about I would have to say T.torosa, mainly because it looks like its eyes are somewhat extending beyond the head, but I don't remember how reliable that method is to tell the two species apart
Its torosa, no doubt. The eyes protruding from the head rule is accurate most of the time, more so than the color below the eye rule. This individual however, exhibits both those rules in favor of torosa, not to mention its body shape and skin look like torosa.



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Old 21st March 2017   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: California Herping Spring 2017!

I agree Seth. The eye color rule is really not sufficient for an identification in my opinion. There are always individuals with eye color patterns that are irregular, so the placement of the eye orbits is far more accurate.

The skin rule can work....or not. I've seen torosa with rougher skins and more tubercles.



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Old 21st March 2017   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: California Herping Spring 2017!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdvythAF View Post
I agree Seth. The eye color rule is really not sufficient for an identification in my opinion. There are always individuals with eye color patterns that are irregular, so the placement of the eye orbits is far more accurate.

The skin rule can work....or not. I've seen torosa with rougher skins and more tubercles.
I think the color below the eye works 90% of the time, but it seems that in some areas that the two species coexist it does not work. Perhaps because of hybridization, not sure.
Skin isn't really a solid identification factor, since it is variable, but often does hold true in my experience. I will say that I've never seen a granulosa with that "torosa skin", i think only the other way around.



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Old 21st March 2017   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: California Herping Spring 2017!

yeah Seth thats what I mean, I've never seen T. granulosa with torosa skin but I have seen T. torosa skin that could be mistaken for granulosa skin.

eh I really don't like the eye color rule. It can be hard to tell and the eye orbits are easier to figure out.



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Old 21st March 2017   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: California Herping Spring 2017!

The eye color rule is so simple though. If it has brown under the eye, its granulosa, if not, its torosa. Unless you're in an area where they mix (like you are) in which case it may not be obvious (like you've experienced)

Are you referring to eye position when you say eye orbits? I haven't heard it said that way before.



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Old 21st March 2017   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: California Herping Spring 2017!

yeah the eye position / aka orbitals / aka sockets

I don't think I've actually seen a hybrid, but I've seen many I thought were hybrids xD



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Old 22nd March 2017   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: California Herping Spring 2017!

Great shots! Thanks for sharing.



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