Comprehensive Description

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Description

Batrachoseps altasierrae is a small, slender salamander with a narrow head, typical of its genus. Snout-vent length ranges from 35.6 - 40.4 mm in males, 36.6 - 43.6 mm in females. Eyes do not protrude beyond the jaw line. There are relatively few teeth, with vomerine teeth arranged somewhat patchily. B. altasierrae has 17 - 18 costal grooves, and 18 - 19 trunk vertebrae. The limbs are short, with narrow hands and feet. Digits are short, but well formed. Digits have expanded tips with subterminal pads, and little webbing. Relative finger and toe length (decreasing) is 3, 2, 4, 1. The tail is longer than the body, and mostly cylindrical along its length, tapering at the tip (Jockusch et al. 2012).

B. altasierrae can be distinguished from other closely related Batrachoseps species by its relatively low number of maxillary teeth and trunk vertebrae.

Coloration (in preservation): The dorsum and limbs are a dark blackish-brown, with the ventral surfaces a lighter brown. A dark brown to reddish-brown stripe runs down the dorsal surface (Jockusch et al. 2012).

Color in life is overall dark with a dark reddish back set off with a lateral dark brown to black stripe; its sides are flecked with tiny white speckling which continue onto its limbs.

The species authorities are Elizabeth L. Jockusch, Iñigo Martínez-Solano, Robert W. Hansen, and David B. Wake (2012).

The species epithet altasierrae comes from the name of a hamlet at the summit of the Greenhorn Mountains, Alta Sierra. B. altasierrae is common in that area.

B. altasierrae populations were considered to be B. relictus prior to the description of B. altasierrae in 2012.

B. altasierrae most closely related to B. kawia, which inhabits similar habitats north of the Tule River drainage (Jockusch et al. 2012).

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