Dicamptodon copei 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Caudata Ambystomatidae

Scientific Name: Dicamptodon copei 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).
Countries occurrence:
United States
Additional data:
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).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

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.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.5. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.7. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.2. Soil erosion, sedimentation
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

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. Available at: (Accessed: 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 2004: e.T59079A11866541. . Downloaded on 15 October 2018.
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