Ambystoma gracile 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Caudata Ambystomatidae

Scientific Name: Ambystoma gracile
Species Authority: (Baird, 1857)
Common Name(s):
English Northwestern Salamander
Siredon gracilis Baird, 1857
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2014. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6 (27 January 2014). New York, USA. Available at: (Accessed: 27 January 2014).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-08-25
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Stuart, S.N.
Contributor(s): Hammerson, G.A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Green, C., Sharp, D. & Garcia Moreno, J.

Listed as Least Concern in view of the large extent of occurrence, large number of sub-populations and locations, and large population size.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Least Concern (LC)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species can be found from the Pacific coast of North America from extreme southeastern Alaska, south through western Canada and northwestern U.S. to the Gualala River, California. Elevational range extends from sea level to about 3,110 meters (Stebbins 2003).
Countries occurrence:
Canada (British Columbia); United States (California, Oregon, Washington)
Upper elevation limit (metres): 3110
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Total adult population size is unknown but surely exceeds 10,000 and possibly exceeds 100,000. Its populations appear to be stable.
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It occurs in open grassland, woodland, and forest near breeding ponds. Non-paedomorphic adults are underground most of the year. During the breeding season, they often are found under rocks and logs. Larvae have been reported to be restricted to shallow areas in lakes with fishes. Adult and larval northwestern salamanders are distasteful to fishes and bullfrogs, allowing coexistence (Leonard et al. 1993). Eggs are laid in ponds, lakes, and slow-moving streams; usually attached to vegetation in shallows (Blaustein et al. 1995) or deeper water (e.g. 0.5-1.0 m below water surface) (Nussbaum et al. 1983).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There are no records of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Localized threats include urbanization and other activities that remove forest surrounding ponds and small lakes. Ambient ultraviolet radiation causes increased mortality of eggs (compared to UV-B-shielded eggs) (Blaustein et al. 1995), but natural oviposition sites often might not be subject to damaging levels of UV. Experimental data indicate that larvae are negatively impacted by the presence of trout (Tyler et al. 1998), yet salamanders and trout coexist in some areas (Leonard et al. 1993). The spread of invasive bullfrogs and predatory fishes introduced to lakes used by A. gracile for sport fishing are more recent threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Needed
Needed conservation measures include maintaining forested conditions in areas within at least 200-250 meters of breeding sites. Also, regulatory agencies should attempt to minimize forest fragmentation. 

Research Needed
Research is needed into both population size and trends.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2015. Ambystoma gracile. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T59057A56458627. . Downloaded on 28 November 2015.
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