Dicamptodon ensatus (Eschscholtz, 1833)

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

Triton ensatus Eschscholtz, 1833, Zool. Atlas, Part 5: 6. Type(s): Not known to exist, but thought by Stejneger and Barbour, 1917, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept.: 11, to be either in Dorpat (presumably now Estonian National Museum in Tartu, Estonia) or Rostock (Rostock University in Germany). Type locality: "Umbegung der Bai St. Francisco auf Californien" (= vicinity of the Bay of San Francisco, California), USA; "probably near Fort Ross, Sonoma County", California, USA, according to Nussbaum, 1976, Misc. Publ. Mus. Zool. Univ. Michigan, 149: 4.

Plethodon ensatusCope, 1868 "1867", Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 19: 167. In error, based on specimens of Ensatina eschscholtzii oregonensis according to A.H. Brame (personal communication).

Dicamptodon ensatusStrauch, 1870, Mem. Acad. Imp. Sci. St. Petersbourg, Ser. 7, 16 (4): 69; Van Denburgh, 1916, Proc. California Acad. Sci., Ser. 4, 6: 221; Bishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 175.

Ambystoma ensatumGrinnell and Camp, 1917, Univ. California Publ. Zool., 17: 139.

English Names

Eschscholtz's Lizard (Yarrow, 1882, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 24: 21).

Marbled Salamander (Storer, 1925, Univ. California Publ. Zool., 27: 42).

Pacific Giant Salamander (Slevin, 1928, Occas. Pap. California Acad. Sci., 16: 36; Bishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 175; Stebbins, 1951, Amph. W. North Am.: 49; Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 16; Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 174; Stebbins, 1966, Field Guide W. North Am. Rept. Amph.: 36; Collins, Huheey, Knight, and Smith, 1978, Herpetol. Circ., 7: 5).

California 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: 158; 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).


The Pacific coast and adjacent mountain ranges in California, from southern Mendocino County to southern Santa Cruz County, 0–900 m elevation, USA.


See accounts by Anderson, 1969, Cat. Am. Amph. Rept., 76: 1–2 (this written prior to the description of Dicamptodon copei or the resurrection of Dicamptodon aterrimus and Dicamptodon tenebrosus), Petranka, 1998, Salamand. U.S. Canada: 150–151, and Bury, 2005, in Lannoo (ed.), Amph. Declines: 653–654. See also Nussbaum, 1976, Misc. Publ. Mus. Zool. Univ. Michigan, 149: 1–94, and Good, 1989, Evolution, 43: 728-744. See comment under Dicamptodon tenebrosus. Stebbins, 2003, Field Guide W. Rept. Amph., Ed. 3: 158–159, provided a brief account, figure, and map, and noted a zone of hybridization with Dicampton copei in Mendocine County, California, USA. See statement of geographic range, habitat, and conservation status in Stuart, Hoffmann, Chanson, Cox, Berridge, Ramani, and Young, 2008, Threatened Amph. World: 637. Raffaëlli, 2013, Urodeles du Monde, 2nd ed.: 89, 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.  

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