Clouded salamander

These lungless salamanders are adept climbers

Bill Bouton

These arboreal salamanders, while lacking some of the typical anatomical features associated with climbing amphibians, have evolved remarkable strategies to navigate their arboreal habitats. Unlike specialized climbing amphibians with features like claws, setae, or suction cups, clouded salamanders rely on the adhesive properties of their mucous layer to cling to surfaces. This mucous layer allows them to grip onto various substrates, including rocks, branches, and vegetation, facilitating their movement through the forest canopy. Additionally, their large toes and prehensile tail may aid in maintaining their grip and balance while navigating the treetops.

In terms of their appearance, clouded salamanders are typically dark brown or gray, adorned with yellow or white spots that create a distinctive and attractive pattern. These spots can vary in size and distribution, giving them a “clouded” appearance, hence their name. Their ventral side exhibits a contrasting cream coloration. These markings not only add to their aesthetic appeal but also serve as effective camouflage in their arboreal habitat.

Currently, the population of clouded salamanders is considered stable. However, like many amphibian species, they face significant threats, primarily stemming from habitat loss and pollution. The destruction of their forested habitats due to urbanization and deforestation poses a considerable risk to their survival. Additionally, water pollution and habitat degradation can negatively impact their ability to thrive.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
United States
LC
2021
California, Oregon

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No