Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
A small to medium-sized, semi-aquatic salamander. Dorsum is brown to greenish-brown, and the underside is bright yellow. Variable degree of black speckling on both dorsal and ventral surfaces (Leonard et al. 1993; 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 4.1 to 6.2 cm snout to vent length (7.5 - 11.5 cm total length) (Stebbins 1985; Petranka 1998). Females are slightly larger than males (Good and Wake 1992). The tail is relatively short, less than the snout to vent length. Larvae have short gills and a low dorsal tail fin that does not extend onto the back (Stebbins 1985; Leonard et al. 1993; Petranka 1998). The color of the larvae is similar to the adults but less bicolored (Leonard et al. 1993). Hatchling size is about 13.5 mm snout to vent length (Nussbaum and Tait 1977).
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 (Good et al. 1987; Good and Wake 1992).
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