Aneides vagrans 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Caudata Plethodontidae

Scientific Name: Aneides vagrans
Species Authority: Wake & Jackman, 1998
Common Name(s):
English Wandering Salamander
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2015. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. New York, USA. Available at:
Taxonomic Notes: This species has been separated from Aneides ferreus (Jackman 1998).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened 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. & Ovaska, K.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Hobin, L. & Sharp, D.
Listed as Near Threatened because this species may be in significant decline (but at a rate of less than 30% over ten years or three generation) because it is being adversely affected by widely practised forest management practices. The rate of decline is unknown, but it might place the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Near Threatened (NT)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs in the USA from northern Del Norte and Siskiyou counties, California, south through extreme western Trinity, Humboldt, and Mendocino counties in a forested coastal strip to the vicinity of Stewart's Point, northwestern Sonoma County, California. It is widespread on Vancouver Island and small neighbouring islands in British Columbia, Canada; there are also two reliable reports from mainland British Columbia (COSEWIC 2014). Genetic similarities suggest a recent origin of the Vancouver Island population which might be derived from human-mediated introductions that occurred in conjunction with shipments of tan oak bark from California (Wake and Jackman, in Jackman 1998). The widespread occurrence of the species on Vancouver Island, including remote areas, lends support to an alternative hypothesis of dispersal from California during post-glacial times via natural log-rafting on north-flowing ocean currents (COSEWIC 2014). Extent of occurrence (EOO) was calculated at 302,646 km2.
Countries occurrence:
Canada (British Columbia); United States (California)
Lower elevation limit (metres): 500
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In California, 
The total Canadian population size of this species is difficult to estimate for several reasons. Sampling has not been done at a fine enough scale across the species’ range, and in many areas, sampling methods have been inconsistent. Occurrence and abundance are extremely variable across the landscape, and there are no models exploring habitat relationships to explain the observed patchiness. However, based on the wide distribution of the species across its Canadian range and its abundance at several sites, it is likely that adult population size exceeds 10,000 (COSEWIC 2014). Population trends are undocumented, but continuous declines are inferred and predicted based on habitat trends and threats.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species occurs in moist coniferous forests, in forest edges, forest clearings, talus, and burned-over areas. It is usually found under bark or within rotten logs (in which it may aggregate in summer), and it requires large (greater than 50 cm in diameter for egg-laying) downed logs of mid-decay classes with sloughing bark (Thomas et al. 1993; Davis 1996, 2003). It often occurs high in trees, and some individuals may rarely descend to ground level. It lays its eggs in cavities in rotten logs or under sloughing-off bark (Davis 2003). Welsh and Wilson (1995) reported a clutch of Aneides vagrans or A. ferreus eggs that had been deposited in a fern clump at the base of a limb 30-40 meters above the ground in a large redwood tree, suggesting that the entire life cycle might be spent in trees in some areas.
Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes

Use and Trade [top]

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

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is threatened by intensive, short-rotation logging practices, and to a lesser extent, land clearing for agriculture and residential development (COSEWIC 2014). This results in increasing scarcity of coarse woody debris on the forest floor over the long term (Corn and Bury 1991). These salamanders may thrive initially after logging but then decline as stumps and logs decay and critical microhabitats are eliminated (Petranka 1998). A shortage of large-diameter logs preferentially used for egg-laying is of particular concern once legacy logs are decayed to a point when they are no longer usable by the salamanders.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Protection of mature and old growth forests is the most important long-term conservation need for this species. In British Columbia this species occurs in several protected areas but most occurrences are in unprotected forestry lands (COSEWIC 2014). In the United states the trend for increasing scarcity of required coarse woody debris on the forest floor may be counteracted to some degree by existing and proposed forest management plans for the Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis) and Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus; Thomas et al. 1993).

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2015. Aneides vagrans. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T59119A78909622. . Downloaded on 02 December 2015.
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