IUCN threat status:

Near Threatened (NT)

Comprehensive Description

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A small to medium-sized, semi-aquatic salamander. The dorsum is green, brown or grayish and the venter is bright yellow or orangish. Unlike other species of Rhyacotriton most individuals lacks spots on the back or belly. Description from Leonard et al.(1993) and Petranka (1998).Males have squared glandular lobes on either side of the vent opening, a trait unique among salamanders (Sever 1988). These salamanders have a short, rounded snout and relatively large, bulging eyes. Adult body size is 4.0 to 5.5 cm snout to vent length (7.5 - 11.5 cm total length) (Good and Wake 1992; Petranka 1998). Males are slightly larger than females (Good and Wake 1992). The tail is relatively short, less than the snout to vent length.Larvae are of the stream type with short gills and a low dorsal tail fin that does not extend onto the back (Stebbins 1985; Petranka 1998). The color of the larvae is similar to the adults but the dorsum is a lighter shade of brown and the venter is cream to yellowish (Petranka 1998). Hatchling size is 22.5-25.8 mm (average 24.1) total length (Nussbaum 1969).

Until recently the genus Rhyacotriton contained a single species with two subspecies, R. o. olympicus and R. o. variegatus. Genetic studies revealed substantial variation and subdivision throughout the range and the single species was split into four species: R. olympicus, R. variegatus, R. kezeri, and R.cascadae (Good et al. 1987; Good and Wake 1992).


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