Cope's giant salamander
|Cope's giant salamander|
Cope's giant salamander (Dicamptodon copei) is a species of salamander in the Dicamptodontidae family. It reaches between 12.4–19.1 cm (4⅞–7½ in). The salamander resembles Pacific giant salamander larvae, but it rarely transforms to a terrestrial stage. It is smaller overall with a narrower head and shorter limbs. It is brown above with patches of yellowish-tan covering clusters of white skin glands, its belly is dark bluish-gray. The salamander has 12–13 inconspicuous costal grooves. There are three closely related species to this taxon: D. ensatus, (California giant salamander), D. aterrimus (Idaho giant salamander) and D. tenebrosus (coastal giant salamander).
The Cope's giant salamanders habits in the wild are largely unknown. They generally do not metamorphose into adults. Rather they mature sexually in the larval stage, known as paedomorphosis. However, approximately 66 adults have been found in the wild and mature larvae in the lab have been transformed via thyroid treatments.
Habitat and range
D. copei is endemic to the Pacific Northwestern portion of the United States. It is found on the Olympic Peninsula and southwestern Washington. Its natural habitat is cold rivers and streams in coniferous forests, and occasionally in cold mountain lakes and ponds. Eggs are laid terrestrially, under stones or logs. It is threatened by habitat loss, particularly logging, and human population expansion.
- Geoffrey Hammerson (2004) Dicamptodon copei. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2.
- John L. Behler and F. Wayne King (1979) National Audubon Society Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians, Knopf, ISBN 0394508246
- C. Michael Hogan (2008) Pacific Giant Salamander: Dicamptodon ensatus, Globaltwitcher.com, ed. N. Stromberg
- "The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species". Dicamptodon copei. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
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