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Brief Summary

Comprehensive Description

    Columbia torrent salamander
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    The Columbia torrent salamander (Rhyacotriton kezeri) is a species of salamander in the family Rhyacotritonidae, endemic to the United States.

    Its natural habitats are temperate forests, rivers, and freshwater springs. It is a small salamander (up to 10 cm total length) that lives in clear, cold, mountain streams. It is threatened by habitat loss.

    Sources

    • Hammerson, G. (2004). "Rhyacotriton kezeri". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2004: e.T59436A11941421. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2004.RLTS.T59436A11941421.en. Retrieved 20 December 2017..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}


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    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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Distribution

    Distribution and Habitat
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    Rhyacotriton kezeri is an inhabitant of the Pacific Coast Range from just south of the Chehallis River, Grays Harbor county, Washington, to the Little Nestuca River and the Grande Ronde Valley in Polk, Tillamook, and Yamhill counties, Oregon (Good and Wake 1992).Like other species of Rhyacotriton, R. kezeri prefer cold, fast-moving streams in forested areas. The larvae generally live in the rocky substrate, while adults prefer the splash zone at the edges of streams. These salamanders may also be found in seepage areas (Good and Wake 1992; Petranka 1998).

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Trends

    Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
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    Courtship has not been observed for any species of Rhyacotriton (Petranka 1998). Based on data for other species of Rhyacotriton, courtship and mating probabaly occur over most of the year, concentrated in the fall and spring months. Females may oviposit at any time of the year, but tend to lay in late spring (Nussbaum and Tait 1977; Welsh and Lind 1992). Rhyacotriton kezeri is the only species of Rhyacotriton for which eggs have been found in nature. Egg deposition sites are in seeps at the heads of springs (Nussbaum 1969). Thirty-two eggs were found in the nest. Based on estimates of the average clutch size, this was likely the reproductive effort of at least three females (Nussbaum 1969). Females apparently do not attend the developing eggs. Clutch frequency is once per year (Nussbaum and Tait 1977; Nussbaum et al. 1983). Eggs laid in spring hatch 5-6 months later (Nussbaum 1969).

    Less is known about the biology of R. kezeri than of other species of Rhyacotriton. Species of Rhyacotriton are likely to be similar in many ways, for example with respect to diet and potential predators. Predation on the eggs of R. kezeri by giant salamanders (Dicamptodon) has been documented (Nussbaum 1969).

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Threats

    Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
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    As with other species of Rhyacotriton, old-growth forests seem to provide the optimal habitiat for R. kezeri, and populations are threatend by continued logging activities (Bury 1983; Good and Wake 1992; Welsh and Lind 1991).

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