Cope's giant salamander

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Cope's giant salamander
Dicamptodon copei larva.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Caudata
Family: Dicamptodontidae
Genus: Dicamptodon
Species: D. copei
Binomial name
Dicamptodon copei
Nussbaum, 1970

Cope's giant salamander (Dicamptodon copei) is a species of salamander in the family Dicamptodontidae, the Pacific giant salamanders.[2][3] It is native to Washington and Oregon in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.[1][3]


This species up to 19.5 centimeters in length. It exhibits neoteny rarely undergoing metamorphosis to the adult form, and it resembles the larvae of similar salamander species. It usually becomes sexually, but not physically, mature. It is gold and brown in color. The costal grooves are inconspicuous. It has a rounded snout and the laterally compressed, finlike tail of a typical larva. It retains its gills.[4]


Little is known about the species' habitat requirements, but it has been found in mountains pools and streams.[5] It feeds on smaller animals, such as fish and amphibians and their eggs,[5] including the larvae of its own species.[6]

The female lays a clutch of around 50 and up to 115 eggs in wet habitat near water bodies. She guards them and possibly defends them aggressively.[5]


The range of this species extends from the Olympic Peninsula to northern Oregon. Its populations are likely stable to slightly declining. Threats include water temperature change and silt from nearby logging operations.[6]


  1. ^ a b Hammerson, G. 2004. Dicamptodon copei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004. Downloaded on 25 June 2016.
  2. ^ Behler, J. L. and F. W. King. (1979) National Audubon Society Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians, Knopf, ISBN 0394508246
  3. ^ a b Frost, Darrel R. (2016). "Dicamptodon copei Nussbaum, 1970". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 26 June 2016. 
  4. ^ Hallock, L. A. and McAllister, K. R. 2009. Cope's Giant Salamander. Washington Herp Atlas.
  5. ^ a b c Dicamptodon copei. AmphibiaWeb. 2016.
  6. ^ a b NatureServe. 2015. Dicamptodon copei. NatureServe Explorer Version 7.1. Accessed 25 June 2016.