Northwestern Salamander / Salamandre foncée
This is a robust gray-brown to chocolate brown salamander with a light brown belly.
Counting the long tail, the Northwestern Salamander can grow to over 20 cm in total
The Barred (formerly Tiger) Salamander can
also be brown, but it is very blotchy. In addition, the ranges of the two salamanders
do not really overlap.
Found only in British Columbia, the Northwestern Salamander occurs along the coast from the
United States to southern Alaska. To the south it is found to northern California.
The Northwestern Salamander is found in a wide variety of humid landscapes: from open
grasslands to dense forests. It is also found over a wide range of elevations -- from sea
level to over 3000 m. Breeding occurs in lakes, ponds, or slow-moving streams.
Breeding occurs in spring at lower elevations, but as late as June or July in cooler areas.
Females lay several compact egg masses of 15-35 eggs. Sometimes only one elongated egg
mass of 100-200 eggs is laid. Within a month the larvae hatch out at approximately 1.5
mm in length. It can take one to two years for the larvae to transform into salamanders
at 8-9 cm long.
Very little is known about the life history of this secretive salamander. Outside of the
breeding season the Northwestern Salamander is rarely seen. When threatened it secretes a
sticky white substance from glands on the head, body and tail that is mildly toxic. Some
populations at higher elevations are neotenic - - the larvae never transform into
terrestrial adults, but reach maturity in the larval state. This is believed to be
an adaptation to harsh conditions on land and relatively safe conditions in the water.
The Northwestern Salamander appears to be secure.