Rhyacotritonidae Tihen, 1958

Class: Amphibia > Order: Caudata > Family: Rhyacotritonidae
4 species

Rhyacotritoninae Tihen, 1958, Bull. Florida State Mus., Biol. Sci., 3: 3. Type genus: Rhyacotriton Dunn, 1920. Proposed as a subfamily of the Ambystomatidae.

RhyacotritonidaeGood and Wake, 1992, Univ. California Publ. Zool., 126: 13.

RhyacotritonoideaDubois, 2005, Alytes, 23: 20. Superfamily.

Rhyacotritoneidae — Dubois, Ohler, and Pyron, 2021, Megataxa, 5: 287. Apofamily. 

English Names

Olympic Salamanders (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 34).

Torrent Salamanders (Halliday and Adler, 2002, New Encyclop. Rept. Amph.: 52; Stebbins, 2003, Field Guide W. Rept. Amph., Ed. 3: 161).

Seep Salamanders (Stebbins, 2003, Field Guide W. Rept. Amph., Ed. 3: 161).


Northwestern USA.


Reviewed by Anderson, 1968, Cat. Am. Amph. Rept., 68: 1–2, prior to revision by Good and Wake, 1992, Univ. California Publ. Zool., 126: 1–91. Placed in its own subfamily within Ambystomatidae by Tihen, 1958, Bull. Florida State Mus., Biol. Sci., 3: 1–50, but was subsequently suggested to be distantly related to ambystomatines by Edwards, 1976, J. Morphol., 148: 305–328, Sever, 1992, J. Morphol., 212: 305–322, and Larson and Dimmick, 1993, Herpetol. Monogr., 7: 77–93, who considered it to be a family distinct from Ambystomatidae. Wiens, Bonett, and Chippindale, 2005, Syst. Biol., 54: 91–110, considered, on the basis of their parsimony analysis, that Rhyacotritonidae is the sister-taxon of Amphiumidae + Plethodontidae, as did Wiens, Bonett, and Chippindale, 2005, Syst. Biol., 54: 91–100, Frost, Grant, Faivovich, Bain, Haas, Haddad, de Sá, Channing, Wilkinson, Donnellan, Raxworthy, Campbell, Blotto, Moler, Drewes, Nussbaum, Lynch, Green, and Wheeler, 2006, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 297: 115. Good and Wake, 1992, Univ. California Publ. Zool., 126: 1–91 and Pyron and Wiens, 2011, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 61: 543–583 (see comment in Amphibia record). See comment under Ambystomatidae. See accounts by See account by Petranka, 1998, Salamand. U.S. Canada: 434–443. Zhang and Wake, 2009, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 53: 492–508, reported on molecular phylogenetics of salamanders based on mtDNA and provided an estimate of time since origin of the salamander families. Zheng, Peng, Kuro-o, and Zeng, 2011, Mol. Biol. Evol., 28: 2521–2535, reported on the estimated time of origin of this taxon. Blackburn and Wake, 2011, In Zhang (ed.), Zootaxa, 3148: 39–55, briefly reviewed the taxonomic history of this taxon. Powell, Collins, and Hooper, 2011, Key Herpetofauna U.S. & Canada, 2nd Ed.: 8, provided a key to the species. Chen, Wang, Liu, Xie, and Jiang, 2011, Curr. Zool., Chengdu, 57: 785–805, reported on a tree of 11 protein-coding mtDNA genes that suggested (albeit with low support) that Rhyacotritonidae is the sister taxon of Ambystomatidae. However, Shen, Liang, Feng, Chen, and Zhang, 2013, Mol. Biol. Evol., 30: 2235–2248, the basis of substantial molecular evidence but fewer terminals found Rhyacotritonidae as the sister taxon of Amphiumidae + Plethodontidae. Vitt and Caldwell, 2014, Herpetology, 4th Ed., provided a summary of life history, diagnosis, and taxonomy.  

Contained taxa (4 sp.):

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