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PeerJ. 2019 Aug 1;7:e7370. doi: 10.7717/peerj.7370. eCollection 2019.

Taxonomic revision of black salamanders of the Aneides flavipunctatus complex (Caudata: Plethodontidae).

Author information

Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA, United States of America.
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA, United States of America.
Contributed equally


We present a taxonomic revision of the black salamander (Aneides flavipunctatus) complex of northwestern California and extreme southeastern Oregon. The revision is based on a number of published works as well as new molecular and morphological data presented herein. The subspecies Aneides flavipunctatus niger Myers & Maslin 1948 is raised in rank to a full species. It is isolated far to the south of the main range on the San Francisco Peninsula, south and west of San Francisco Bay. Another geographically isolated set of populations occurs well inland in Shasta County, northern CA, mainly in the vicinity of Shasta Lake. It is raised from synonymy and recognized as Aneides iecanus (Cope 1883). The remaining taxa occur mainly along and inland from the coast from the vicinity of the Russian River and Lake Berryessa/Putah Creek, north to the vicinity of the Smith River near the Oregon border and more inland along the Klamath and Trinity Rivers and tributaries into Oregon. The northern segment of this nearly continuous range is named Aneides klamathensis Reilly and Wake 2019. We use molecular data to provide a detailed examination of a narrow contact zone between the northern A. klamathensis and the more southern A. flavipunctatus in southern Humboldt County in the vicinity of the Van Duzen and main fork of the Eel rivers. To the south is the remnant of the former species and it takes the name Aneides flavipunctatus (Strauch 1870). It is highly diversified morphologically and genetically and requires additional study.


Amphibia; Biogeography; Morphometrics; Osteology; Phylogenetics; Systematics

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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