Dicamptodon aterrimus (Cope, 1868)

Class: Amphibia > Order: Caudata > Family: Ambystomatidae > Genus: Dicamptodon > Species: Dicamptodon aterrimus

Amblystoma aterrimum Cope, 1868 "1867", Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 19: 201. Holotype: USNM 5242 according to Cochran, 1961, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 220: 4, and Tighe, 2022, Smithson. Contrib. Zool., 654: 5. Type locality: "North Rocky Mountains"; data with holotype are "crossing of Bitter Root River, north Rocky Mountains (Montana)", USA, according to Cochran, 1961, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 220: 4. Tighe, 2022, Smithson. Contrib. Zool., 654: 5, disagreed, noting that the only data in the original catalog ledger is "N. Rocky Mts."

Amblystoma aterrimumBoulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Grad. Batr. Apoda Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 49.

Chondrotus aterrimusCope, 1887, Am. Nat., 21: 88; Cope, 1889, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 34: 99, 109.

Dicamptodon aterrimusDunn, 1923, Proc. New England Zool. Club, 8: 39; Daugherty, Allendorf, Dunlap, and Knudsen, 1983, Copeia, 1983: 679.

English Names

Rocky Mountain Salamander (Yarrow, 1882, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 24: 21).

Idaho Giant Salamander (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 28; Collins, 1997, Herpetol. Circ., 25: 6; Crother, Boundy, Campbell, de Queiroz, Frost, Highton, Iverson, Meylan, Reeder, Seidel, Sites, Taggart, Tilley, and Wake, 2001 "2000", Herpetol. Circ., 29: 21; Stebbins, 2003, Field Guide W. Rept. Amph., Ed. 3: 159; Tilley, Highton, and Wake, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 17; Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 10; Highton, Bonett, and Jockusch, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 26).


Headwater stream from the Salmon River to the Coeur d'Alene drainage in the Rocky Mountains of northern Idaho and adjacent extreme western Montana, USA.

Geographic Occurrence

Natural Resident: United States of America, United States of America - Idaho, United States of America - Montana

Endemic: United States of America


Removed from the synonymy of Dicamptodon ensatus by Daugherty, Allendorf, Dunlap, and Knudsen, 1983, Copeia, 1983: 679, on the basis of electrophoretic distance. Nussbaum, Brodie, and Storm, 1983, Amph. Rept. Pacific Northwest: 67, rejected the specific distinctness of this form on the basis of overall similarity to Dicamptodon ensatus but the taxon was recognized on the basis of molecular evidence by Good, 1989, Evolution, 43: 728–744. Petranka, 1998, Salamand. U.S. Canada: 146–147, Stebbins, 2003, Field Guide W. Rept. Amph., Ed. 3: 159, and Raffaëlli, 2007, Les Urodèles du Monde: 73, provided brief accounts. Lohman and Bury, 2005, in Lannoo (ed.), Amph. Declines: 651–652, provided a detailed account. Raffaëlli, 2013, Urodeles du Monde, 2nd ed.: 87–88, provided a brief account, photo, and map. Altig and McDiarmid, 2015, Handb. Larval Amph. US and Canada: 96–98, provided an account of larval morphology. Raffaëlli, 2022, Salamanders & Newts of the World: 135, provided an account, summarizing systematics, life history, population status, and distribution (including a polygon map). 

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