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Data provided are specific to the geographical scope of this paper. Measurements for salamanders, frogs, and toads are standard snout-vent lengths. Some details of the natural history are provided as identification aids.

The arrangement of information is as follows: order (common names within order), characters common to the order (or family), common names of individual species (scientific name, family name), size, description, and habitat. Descriptions are mostly taken from California Amphibians and Reptiles and Western Reptiles and Amphibians by Robert C. Stebbins, as well as from personal notes.

Next to each written description is a graphic illustration taken with permission from California Department of Fish and Game's California's Wildlife.

CAUDATA (Newts and salamanders)
These animals look like lizards, but have no scales or claws. SALAMANDERS have moist, soft skin. Male NEWTS have rough, dry skin when on land; smooth, swollen skin in water (where they breed). Newts are more active by day than other salamanders. Their skin secretes a TOXIN which protects them from most would-be predators.

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California newt, Coast Range newt (Taricha torosa, Salamandridae) This species ranges in size between 23/4 and 31/2 inches. It is brown-tan above, yellow-orange below, and has a light-colored lower eyelid. The California newt eats earthworms, snails, slugs, sowbugs, and insects. It is found primarily in or near streams in riparian, coastal scrub, chaparral, and annual grassland communities.


LUNGLESS SALAMANDERS breathe through their moist skin. Most species are primarily nocturnal. They have very restricted surface activity. They breed on land. They are not likely to be seen unless one looks under rocks, fallen logs, etc.

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Ensatina, Monterey salamander (Ensatina eschscholtzii, Plethodontidae) Ensatina ranges in size from 11/2 to 3 inches. This species is extremely varied in coloration, but in this area mostly has a reddish-brown back with orange sides and a pale belly with fine black specks. Its tail appears swollen as its body is constricted at the base of the tail. If injured, it may drop its tail. The tail exudes a sticky, milky TOXIN. Ensatina eats a variety of arthropods, millipedes, centipedes, and earthworms. It is primarily nocturnal. Its surface activity coincides with fall, winter, and spring rains. It is found in moist soils in riparian, mixed chaparral, and oak woodland communities.


CLIMBING SALAMANDERS have prominent jaw muscles that make their heads look triangular when viewed from above. They have conspicuous costal and caudal grooves. Their toes are usually square-tipped.

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Arboreal salamander (Aneides lugubris, Plethodontidae) This salamander has a size range of 21/4 to 4 inches. Its back is greenish brown with yellow speckling, its belly whitish. It has a prehensile tail. It is an excellent climber. It is most likely found under bark in trees or snags. When it does surface, it is primarily during moist periods. It is predatory on other terrestrial slender salamanders and arthropods. It may also eat fungi. It inhabits mainly moist areas of the riparian, chaparral, and oak woodland communities.


SLENDER SALAMANDERS have slim bodies, long tails, very small limbs, and four toes on their feet (other salamanders have five). They have conspicuous costal and caudal grooves. Their tail may be cast off (to be grown anew) when stressed. Slender salamanders eat earthworms, slugs, snails, sowbugs, millipedes, mites, spiders, and small insects. They are found primarily from October to May.

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Black-bellied slender salamander (Batrachoseps nigriventris, Plethodontidae) This species ranges in size from 11/4 to 2 inches. It usually has a beige-tan, brown, or reddish dorsal stripe and a dark belly that is finely speckled with white. It is found at the surface primarily during the rainy season in semi-mesic areas of riparian, oak woodland, and mixed chaparral communities.


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Pacific slender salamander (Batrachoseps pacificus, Plethodontidae) This salamander ranges in size between 11/4 and 23/4 inches. This salamander is extremely varied in size and coloration. Its surface activity is most common during the rainy season. It occurs primarily in semi-mesic to wet areas within riparian, oak woodland, chaparral, and grassland habitats.


SALIENTIA (Toads and frogs)
TOADS are "stocky, short-legged, broad-waisted, warty, toothless anurans with a pair of large glands (parotoids) on back of head; well-developed tubercles on hind feet; ridges, cranial crests, usually frame upper eyelids on top [of] head. Warts and parotoids contain poison glands which secrete sticky, milky fluid that repels some predators and irritates human eyes. Toads do not cause warts." They breed in water.

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Western toad, California toad (Bufo boreas, Bufonidae) This toad ranges in size from 21/2 to 5 inches. It is mostly non-vocal. It has a distinctive white or cream-colored dorsal stripe down its dusky, grey, or green, blotchy-colored back. Warts may be tinged with rust and are found in dark blotches. Western toads may be found in a variety of niches from rodent burrows to rock fissures to inside or under boards, tree bark, rotting logs, or boulders. They occupy most natural plant communities occurring in Poly Canyon.


TREEFROGS are small, slender-waisted, long-legged frogs. They have a large head and rounded snout. They are good jumpers. The prominent adhesive toe pads are used for climbing.

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Pacific treefrog (Hyla (Pseudacris) regilla, Hylidae) The Pacific treefrog ranges in size from 3/4 to 2 inches. The dorsal coloration is highly variable (especially green or brown, but also tan, black, grey, or a reddish color). The Pacific treefrog can change its color rapidly. However, this frog has a distinctive black or dark brown eye stripe. Its ventral surface is cream-colored, and its hind legs are tinged in yellow. Pacific treefrogs eat small insects, spiders, isopods, and snails. They can be found on low plants near water in riparian, grassland, chaparral, woodland, and pastoral habitats.


TRUE FROGS are slim-waisted, long-legged, and smooth-skinned. They have well-developed webbing on their hind feet. They have teeth in their upper jaw. They are excellent jumpers.

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California red-legged frog (Rana aurora, Ranidae) This frog has a size range of 13/4 to 51/4 inches. It takes its name from the coloring of its lower abdomen and the ventral surface of its hind legs: red over a yellow ground color. The color of its back varies: brown, grey, olive green or a reddish ground color, all speckled in black and darkly splotched. It often has a blackish mask bordered by a whitish jaw stripe. It has dark bands on its legs. It has coarse black or grey, red, and yellow mottling in the groin. The California red-legged frog eats insects and isopods. It inhabits riparian communities in quiet pools of streams and ponds.


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Foothill yellow-legged frog (Rana boylii, Ranidae) This species ranges in size from 11/2 to 3 inches. It is colored grey, brown, red, or olive green above, usually spotted and mottled with brownish-grey tones. It has distinctive yellow legs. It eats insects and snails. It is found in or near rocky streams in a variety of habitats including riparian, coastal scrub, and mixed chaparral.s


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Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana, Ranidae) The bullfrog's size ranges between 31/2 and 8 inches. It is olive green, green, or brown above and mostly whitish mottled with grey below. Its legs are banded and blotched in greyish-brown. Bullfrogs are found in or near permanent, quiet waters of ponds and streams in riparian, woodland, chaparral, and pastoral communities. They eat insects, small fish, frogs, tadpoles, snakes, turtles, birds, and mice. They are native to the eastern United States. Bullfrogs are probably most common in the lowest reaches of Brizzolara Creek, as well as in ponds around campus.