Dicamptodon copei


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Dicamptodon copei
Species Authority: Nussbaum, 1970
Common Name(s):
English Cope's Giant Salamander

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Geoffrey Hammerson
Reviewer(s): Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its relatively wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species can be found in the Olympic Peninsula, Washington, south through the southern Cascades and Willapa Hills to streams that drain into the Columbia River Gorge in northwestern Oregon, USA (Stebbins 1985). It can be found from near sea level to about 975m asl (Leonard et al. 1993).
United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The total adult population size is unknown but it probably exceeds a few thousand. Trend is poorly known. Declining to stable in Oregon (M. Stern pers. comm., 1997). Probably stable for the past 20 years in Washington where at least 100 localities are known (J. Fleckenstein pers. comm., 1997).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It can be found in streams and rivers in moist coniferous forests (water temperatures usually range from 8-14 C) (Nussbaum et al. 1983). It is sometimes found in clear, cold mountain lakes and ponds, and sometimes occurs on land along water courses (Jones and Corn 1989). It lays eggs in nest chambers under stones, cutbanks, or logs (Nussbaum et al. 1983).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Logging is the biggest threat to this species; logging could increase water temperatures to unsuitably high levels and result in siltation, which might detrimentally affect food resources. Overall, it is considered to be only locally threatened.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Numerous sites are protected in Washington.

Bibliography [top]

Behler, J.L. and King, F.W. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. New York.

Blackburn, L., Nanjappa, P. and Lannoo, M.J. 2001. An Atlas of the Distribution of U.S. Amphibians. Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA.

Bury, R.B., Corn, P.S., Aubry, K.B., Gilbert, F.F. and Jones, L.L.C. 1991. Aquatic Amphibian Communities in Oregon and Washington. In: Ruggiero, L.F., Aubry, K.B., Carey, A.B. and Huff, M.H. (eds), Wildlife and Vegetation of Unmanaged Douglas-Fir Forests, pp. 353-362. USFS, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland #PNW-GTR-285.

Corkran, C.C. and Thoms, C. 1996. Amphibians of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Lone Pine Publishing, Edmonton, Alberta.

Frost, D.R. 1985. Amphibian Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Allen Press and the Association of Systematic Collections, Lawrence, Kansas.

Good, D.A. 1989. Hybridization and cryptic species in Dicamptodon (Caudata: Dicamptodontidae). Evolution: 728-744.

IUCN. 2004. 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 23 November 2004.

Jones, L.L.C. and Corn, P.S. 1989. Third specimen of a metamorphosed Cope's giant salamander (Dicamptodon copei). Northwestern Naturalist: 37-38.

Leonard, W.P., Brown, H.A., Jones, L.L.C., McAllister, K.R. and Storm, R.M. 1993. Amphibians of Washington and Oregon. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington.

Nussbaum, R.A. 1983. Dicamptodon copei. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles: 1-2.

Nussbaum, R.A., Brodie, Jr., E.D. and Storm, R.M. 1983. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Pacific Northwest. University Press of Idaho, Moscow, ID, USA.

Raphael, M.G. et al. 1997. The Wildlife Ecology Team 1997 Annual Report. Ecology of Aquatic and Riparian Ecosystems under alternate management regimes. USFS, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Olympia WA.

Stebbins, R.C. 1985. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Second Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.

Citation: Geoffrey Hammerson 2004. Dicamptodon copei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 30 August 2015.
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