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Yellow-Eyed Ensatinas

This is a discussion on Yellow-Eyed Ensatinas within the Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) forums, part of the Species, Genus & Family Discussions category; Took a walk along a trail after a rain the other day, kicking over a few logs here and there ...

Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) The largest, and one of the most diverse groups of salamanders, these salamanders have all evolved to breathe solely through their skin and are found almost exclusively in North America.

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Old 23rd January 2006   #1 (permalink)
david
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Took a walk along a trail after a rain the other day, kicking over a few logs here and there as I went. Found my first Ensatina since I moved to Sonoma County a few years ago. Found two of them, in fact, a grown up and a juvenile, both under the same log. At first I thought they were California Newts, till I inspected closer. Did some reading, turns out, they're called "Yellow-Eyed Ensatinas" and their color pattern mimics the poisonous newt. They're beautiful little critters. I took some pictures, and as soon as I get them scanned in I will post.
If you do some reading about Ensatinas online, you'll find (as I did) that Yellow-Eyed Ensatinas are limited in range to not much more than the area of just above S.F. Bay, which is, sure enough, where I'm at. You learn stuff all the time...
Still, I don't think there are a plethora of these critters....these are the first Ensatinas I've encountered in 4+ years of living in the area, though I have encountered many many California Slenders and more than a few Arboreals.

(Message edited by todas_abiyoyo on January 23, 2006)



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Old 23rd January 2006   #2 (permalink)
mark
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David, ensatinas live in very defined micro- habitats, because they seem to require a little more moisture than caudates found in the same general area. In my area oregon ensatinas are only found under large bark piles at the base of dead trees. When I lived in the San Diego area I looked for them in western red cedar groves. Both areas tend to hold more moisture than the surrounding areas. While I found other salamander species in their micro-habitats, I never have found them outside of their's. Hope this helps you to locate others. Just remember to put things back as you found them or you could severely damage their habitat and wipe that colony out. Mark



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Old 24th January 2006   #3 (permalink)
joseph
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Interesting. I go up to Sonoma County 2x a year and try to stick in some log turning and whatnot. Slender salamanders and Ensatinas are my two most common finds. Where do arboreals hang out? I have never found one of those before.



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Old 24th January 2006   #4 (permalink)
russ
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Ensatina habits really vary by location and season, so you can't really generalize their abundance. Obviously they're more abundant during the winter rains, especially in the southern portions of their range. At higher elevations they may be common right into the summer months. But rain is definitely the big factor. I've looked for them at the same locale in the same month in consecutive years, but because of different weather patterns for those two winters they were extremely common during one and almost nonexistent in the other.



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Old 24th January 2006   #5 (permalink)
david
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<blockquote><hr size=0><!-quote-!><font size=1>Joseph S wrote on Tuesday, 24 January, 2006 - 02:15 :</font>

&quot;&quot;<!-/quote-!><hr size=0></blockquote>

Found one adult arboreal in a hole underneath a log, about a foot down, poking his head out (I couldn't catch him!). Also found a juvenile underneath an oak log after a rain. That's actually about it as far as underneath logs--I mainly find arboreals accidently during rainstorms: they sporadically come onto my porch to escape being drowned. Don't know if they are attracted to the light as well but I suspect it.



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Old 24th January 2006   #6 (permalink)
david
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<blockquote><hr size=0><!-quote-!><font size=1>Mark Baumann wrote on Monday, 23 January, 2006 - 20:48 :</font>

&quot;&quot;<!-/quote-!><hr size=0></blockquote>

Very informative. Thanks, Mark.
Been very busy the past couple days; I will get those pics posted as soon as possible.



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