Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release

April 22, 2009


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reviewed a petition to add the Tehachapi slender salamander (Batrachoseps stebbinsi)to the federal list of threatened and endangered species and concluded the petition contains substantial information to indicate that listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) may be warranted. The Tehachapi slender salamander occurs in Kern County in the Tehachapi mountain range and in a canyon in the southern foothills of the Sierra.

The finding does not mean that the Service has decided to list the Tehachapi slender salamander. Rather, the Service will now conduct an in-depth review – called a 12-month finding – of all the biological information available on the species to determine whether the Tehachapi slender salamander warrants listing as a threatened or endangered species under the ESA.

Today’s decision, commonly called a 90-day finding, is based on scientific information about the species provided in a petition submitted to the Service in February 2006 by a private citizen. The Service also considered additional biological and environmental information on the Tehachapi slender salamander not provided by the petitioner.

To ensure the status review is comprehensive, the Service is soliciting scientific and commercial information about the Tehachapi slender salamander, including information related to its biology and habitat needs and threats to the species or its habitat. In the southern Sierra, the Tehachapi slender salamander occurs in a portion of Caliente Canyon. The Tehachapi mountain range population is located about 13 miles southwest of the Caliente Canyon population on properties owned by Tejon Ranch and the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The Tehachapi range forms the southeastern boundary of California’s Central Valley. The petitioner cites the salamander’s small numbers, limited range, and habitat destruction and modification as making it vulnerable to extinction. The petitioner also cites roads, livestock grazing, mining and construction projects as threats to the species. The Tehachapi slender salamander is also listed as threatened by the State of California. The Tehachapi slender salamander is a member of the lungless salamander family. When threatened, it can coil its body much like a snake. It is distinguished from other members of the lungless salamander family by having a relatively broader head, long legs, shorter tail, and broader feet. The species lacks lungs and absorbs oxygen through its smooth, thin skin. It may be dark or brick red, or light or dark brown with light tan patches or blotches in a band-like pattern. The salamanders live most of their lives underground, emerging only when it rains. They occur on north-facing slopes within canyons or ravines, beneath rocks, fallen logs, talus, or leaf litter. They feed on small arthropods and other invertebrates.Comments will be accepted until June 22, 2009. Comments and information on the 90-day finding may be submitted electronically to, or in writing to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: RIN 1018-AV23; Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222, Arlington, VA 22203

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