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Plethodon petraeus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AMPHIBIA CAUDATA PLETHODONTIDAE

Scientific Name: Plethodon petraeus
Species Authority: Wynn, Highton and Jacobs, 1988
Common Name(s):
English Pigeon Mountain Salamander

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Assessor(s): Geoffrey Hammerson
Reviewer(s): Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)
Justification:
Listed as Vulnerable because it is known from only a single location.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is limited to the Cumberland Plateau of extreme north-western Georgia, USA. All known populations occur on the eastern slope of Pigeon Mountain in Walker and Chattooga counties (Wynn, Highton and Jacobs 1988, Jensen 1999, Buhlmann 2001, Jensen, Camp and Marshall 2002). Sites occur at altitudes ranging from 220-570m asl (Wynn, Highton and Jacobs 1988).
Countries:
Native:
United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Wynn, Highton and Jacobs (1988) reported the species as very abundant, far outnumbering other syntopic salamander species. Recent surveys at two of the known sites indicated no detectable change in their abundance (J.B. Jensen pers. obs.); however, Pigeon Mountain salamanders have become uncommon at one locality, possibly due to disturbance created by increased cave visitation and/or perhaps scientific over-collecting (Jensen 1999).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Pigeon Mountain Salamanders are associated with limestone outcroppings, boulder fields, and caves (Wynn, Highton and Jacobs 1988). Those found in caves are rarely deeper than the twilight zone. Individuals are most often found in and around cracks and crevices within rocks. These microhabitats are embedded within mesic deciduous forests consisting of an over-storey comprised primarily of oak and hickory (Jensen 1999). However, Pigeon Mountain Salamanders are rarely encountered away from rock outcrops or caves (Jensen, Camp and Marshall 2002).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The restricted distribution of Pigeon Mountain Salamanders makes them especially vulnerable to threats. Mineral rights to a portion of this property are leased to a mining company that has proposed quarrying operations, which might threaten both this species and Green Salamanders, another rare amphibian. Over-collection for scientific study and possibly the illegal pet trade, as well as disturbance from recreational cavers, might threaten populations. Loss or reduction of moisture-trapping canopy covers as a result of timber removal on private lands could pose a future threat. However, at present the species appears to be stable and the impacts of these threats is probably relatively limited.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Most of the species' potential habitat is in the Crockford-Pigeon Mountain Wildlife Management Area. A request to list the species as "threatened" under the federal Endangered Species Act was submitted by John Jensen to the USFWS-Athens, GA Field Office. Private land within the range of the species should be considered for acquisition or the establishment of conservation easements. Timber harvest should be avoided in occupied habitats; if timber harvest does occur, it is important to retain a forested canopy surrounding significant rock-outcroppings and caves, as well as to retain a suitable amount of coarse woody debris. There is a need for continued close monitoring of the population status of this species.

Citation: Geoffrey Hammerson 2004. Plethodon petraeus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 September 2014.
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