Siskiyou Mountain Salamander
Description: Long body, short limbs and a distinctive color: purple-brown with white speckles. Like most salamanders, the Siskiyou Mountain species (Plethodon stormi) is lungless, meaning it breathes through its skin.
Habitat: Siskiyou Mountain salamanders are aptly named for their limited range in the northern Siskiyous and Applegate River drainage. Within this area, their habitat is further limited to mature forests that have grown over rocky talus slopes, with dense canopy and plenty of moss to lock in the moisture.
Endangered Species Act listing status: Not protected.
Threats: Anything that disturbs the delicate old-growth-over-talus habitat, including tree harvest, road building, quarry development and even recreation. Erratic rainfall and drier conditions due to climate change will also impact the salamander, which requires moist conditions in order to breathe.
Estimated population: Because the Siskiyou Mountain Salamander only emerges from underground when it is dark and rainy, no population estimates exist. Sightings are rare. We do know that there are just 710 square miles of potential habitat for this endemic salamander species within the KS.
Superpower: This hyper-local worm-gobbler is an important KS Wild strategic partner. The Siskiyou Mountain Salamander has been our beloved mascot since the organization’s early days.
What’s being done? A 2004 petition to list the Siskiyou Mountain salamander as either threatened or endangered was never approved. The same coalition of groups, including KS Wild, got together to submit a new petition in 2018. Meanwhile, we’re closely monitoring BLM timber sales in the Siskiyous and Applegate River drainage areas, which could allow the salamander’s habitat to be logged.
Learn more about our efforts to protect public forests and the wildlife.