The limestone salamander (Hydromantes brunus) is a member of the lungless salamander family, Plethodontidae, found in a portion of the Merced River Canyon in Mariposa County, California. Hydromantes is composed of three species endemic to parts of California in the United States, also including H. platycephalus and H. shastae. H. brunus is rare and specific to Merced Canyon. It respires through its skin and manifests a flattened body and head. It is typically 5.0 to 7.5 centimeters in length and has webbed toes. The total population of this rare species is estimated at less than 2000 individuals. Its natural habitats are temperate forests, temperate shrubland, freshwater springs, rocky areas, and caves. It is threatened by habitat loss.
The creature's specialized habitat is canyon slopes that are greater than 35 degrees. According to Earth Metrics, the sole Merced River Canyon habitat is part of an area "representative of foothill habitats forming a band along the length of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the western slopes at intermediate elevations. As a whole, this band is one of the largest contiguous wildlife habitats in the state [of California]." A portion of the Merced River Canyon is protected by the State of California and managed by the State Department of Fish and Game as the Limestone Salamander Ecological Reserve
- Hammerson, G.; Wake, D. (2004). "Hydromantes brunus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2014-09-29.
- Hydromantes brunus : Limestone Salamander
- Colleen Flannery, Ecological Reserves: Special protection for special places, Outdoor California Magazine, November - December 2001
- Earth Metrics, Environmental Impact Report for the Saxon Creek Water Project, Mariposa County, California, published by the County of Mariposa Planning Department, Report 10298, May, 1990
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