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This blog is predominately about camera trapping in California. We camera trap to save our souls and to teach primary school students about biology and conservation. We will also touch on other camera trapping news and musings, sets from afar, mediocre herpetology, sucky birding, and other natural history discussions.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Herping UCSC Part 2.

Last time I checked in I shared some photos from herping in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  In Part 2 we herp the UCSC Upper campus Reserve and the Campus proper.

Heading down Empire Grade we hit up the Upper Campus Reserve at a flooded meadow.  There we found a Pacific Tree Frog, Pseudacris regilla.


We finished our day on the UCSC campus proper on the hunt for the Santa Cruz Black Salamander, Aneides flavipunctatus niger or just Aneides niger if you prefer.  This is a sub-species (or species if you prefer) that is endemic to the Santa Cruz Mountains.  One isolated population is here on campus, so we headed down to the old quarry to flip some rocks.

At the first site all we could find were Ensatinas and Slender Salamanders, Batrachoseps gavilanensis.  I somehow managed to forget to take a picture of an Ensatina with their beautiful split green eye, but here is a handful of Slenders found under the same rock.


Leaving the quarry proper we flipped a few rocks on the ground.  Previously we had been looking for rock on rock hideouts.  However, these ground rocks yielded four juvenile nigers!  In person they seemed much more solid black.  The flash accentuates the blue/white flecking.  I had never noticed that green hue that showed up in one individual.  These guys were probably the find of the day.




Heading back to the car we found this arboreal Salamander, Aneides lugubris, under a log.  It was completely patternless but in need of a bath.



We also found a very nice scorpion, Uroctonus mordax spp, who was not too happy we had lifted up his rock and this unidentified millipede.



  1. Used to find those black sallies in shale rubble along the San Lorenzo river. You had a good weekend.

  2. Yeah, they really like the rock on rock habitat. The other place I have found one (I think) was in shale along the coast near Big Basin's Hwy 1 entrance. With the habitat they like they are almost the amphibian version of the ringtail. And I have caught your ringtail obsession. Thanks for that!

  3. Love the labial cirri on the A. lubugris!

    I've barely had a chance to scrach the surface of the salamanders here, but back home (Wisconsin) none of the species have elongated cirri. Here, we have a few species where the males have cirri, but I haven't run across them in the field yet!

  4. how big was the arboreal salamander??

  5. Lizardude92: You know we never measured it but it was huge. ~4" or so STV. One of the largest I have seen.