California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Amphibian & Reptile Species of Special Concern

Important Notice!

California's list of Amphibian and Reptile Species of Special Concern (ARSSC) is a critical component of the management and protection of amphibians and reptiles in the state. The Department has contracted with UC Davis to revise the existing ARSSC list. To date, the ARSSC revision team has developed a set of risk metrics, compiled a list of nominee taxa, and completed a preliminary risk assessment for each nominee based on literature reviews and locality information. Now, we need your help to make sure that we have the most accurate and complete list possible of SSC for potential inclusion in the final list. The best list will require input from as many knowledgeable biologists as possible. If you have data, well-documented field experience, or unpublished observations that are relevant to California's amphibian and reptile fauna, we invite you to share them with us. (If you have already submitted locality data to CNDDB, thank you - we are using that information.)

Further details, risk assessments, and instructions for submitting feedback are available at The public comment period closes August 31st, 2009.

Center for Population Biology
University of California
Davis, CA 95616

The most current list of Species of Special Concern can be found on CDFW's Special Animals List.

Species Accounts

More detailed information is available in the 1994 Department of Fish and Wildlife publication "Amphibian and Reptile Species of Special Concern in California", by Mark R. Jennings and Marc P. Hayes.

A revised, updated version of this publication is expected to be available in 2010.

1994 Report Overview

This report contains species accounts and distribution maps for 48 amphibian and reptile special concern taxa (11 salamanders, 14 anurans, 2 turtles, 12 lizards, and 9 snakes). Each species account contains a description of the animal, taxonomic remarks, distribution and life history information, habitat description, status, management recommendations and a range map.

Of the 48 special concern taxa, 23 were recommended by the authors for threatened or endangered status in California, and 25 others were regarded as needing special attention to prevent further declines. Since the report was published, the California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense) was Federally-listed as threatened, and the Yosemite toad (Bufo canorus) and Sierra Madre (Rana muscosa) and Sierra Nevada (Rana sierrae) yellow-legged frogs (formerly one species, the mountain yellow-legged frog) are candidates for Federal listing. The remaining 33 California taxa were determined not to warrant any special status at that time.

Anurans (frogs) and turtles were described as the most imperiled groups. Remaining major groups, ranked from most to least at risk, were salamanders, lizards, and snakes. Taxa that use aquatic habitats were most at risk.

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