Common Name: Pacific Giant Salamander
Scientific Name: Dicamptodon tenebrosus
external image dtenebrosusfchu308.jpg

Habitat Description: Found in temperate rain forests, moist forests in or near clear, cold streams and rivers, mountain lakes, and ponds. Takes shelter under rocks, logs, in logs, and in burrows and root channels. Population densities are highest in creeks with many large stones. (Coastal Giant Salamander)(Giant Salamander)(Corkran 51)
external image xcreekjsdn1108.jpg

Elevation: Appear from sea level to 6000 ft. (Coastal Giant Salamander)
Diet: Giant salamanders will consume anything that they can overpower and fit in their mouth, including a variety of invertebrates and small vertebrates including salamanders, small rodents, lizards, and even small snakes. Aquatic larvae feed on small aquatic invertebrates including insects and larvae, mollusks, and crayfish, and small fish hatchlings. Giant salamanders are sit-and-wait predators. When prey comes near they lunge quickly to grab the prey with their mouth and crush it with their jaws. (Coastal Giant Salamander)(Giant Salamander)
external image giantsalamander.jpg

Egg Description: Females move from upland habitats to lay their eggs in pools or in the slow-moving parts of streams where they attach the eggs to the underside of submerged rocks or wood. Eggs show no coloring. They will guard the eggs until they hatch in June and July. 83 to 146 eggs have been reported in a clutch. (Coastal Giant Salamander)(Pacific Giant Salamander)
external image 6121540825_0d685daa6c_z.jpg

Larvae Description: Larvae transform 18 - 24 months after hatching, depending on environmental conditions and the size and permanence of the stream. Some larvae do not transform for three years. Larvae frequently swim in clear cold streams, creeks, and lakes and can be found under rocks and leaf litter in slow moving waters near the banks or exposed in the water at night. They have black markings on their dorsal fin and their gills are small and bushy. (Coastal Giant Salamander)(Corkran 51)
Juvenile/Neotenic Description: Recently metamorphosed juveniles move out of streams to the surrounding habitat during wet periods. May not leave this stage and will remain in the water with gills. (Coastal Giant Salamander)
external image dtenebrosusneomemr083.jpg

Adult Description: The body is large and robust with a massive head and stout limbs. The tail is flattened from side to side. The ground color of the body is dark brown to near black overlaid with light brown spotting or fine-grained marbling. Neoteny can be common; gilled adults often outnumber transformed individuals. Terrestrial adults often remain in underground retreats, emerging to forage on the forest floor on rainy nights. Adults are typically found within 50 meters of streams. Found under objects near streams, under rocks in streams, and sometimes crawling in daytime. (Coastal Giant Salamander)(Corkran 51)
external image dtenebrosuslarvsisk.jpg

Adult Snout to Vent length: Adults are 6.25 - 17 cm from snout to vent and up to 13 inches (34 cm) in total length. (Coastal Giant Salamander)(Giant Salamander)
When do they reproduce: Reproduction is aquatic, courtship sites are not known, breeding occurs mostly in spring, usually in May, but later at high elevations. (Coastal Giant Salamander)(Pacific Giant Salamander)
‍‍‍‍‍‍Range:‍‍‍‍‍‍ The Pacific Giant salamander can be found along the coast of upper California and throughout Oregon and Washington. (Coastal Giant Salamander)
external image Dicamptodon_tenebrosus.gif

Family: Dicamptodontidae
Genus: Dicamptodon
Species: tenebrosus
Where and at what time can they be found at Mingus: June to July is when the eggs hatch so a couple of months after that they will either be moving around on land or in the water still in their Neotenic Stage. (Coastal Giant Salamander)
Natural defenses/Adaptations: Large adults are capable of delivering a painful bite. Other defenses include arching the body and lashing the tail and excreting noxious skin secretions. (Coastal Giant Salamander)
Predators: Predators mostly include the Northern Oregon Garter Snake. (Coastal Giant Salamander)
external image tatratuseatdicamptrbw812.jpg

Interesting Facts: The largest terrestrial salamander in North America.(Coastal Giant Salamander) Very old Salamanders may lose their pattern except on the head. There are three main species of this salamander which are the Northern Species Dicamptodon tenebrosus, the Southern Species Dicamptodon ensatus, and the Eastern Species Dicamptodon Aterrimus. (Coastal Giant Salamander)

1. Coastal Giant Salamander - Dicamptodon tenebrosus." N.p., n.d. Web. 19 May 2014. < >

2. Corkran, Charlotte and Chris Thoms. //Amphibians of Oregon, Washington And British Columbia: A Field Identification Guide//. Lone Pine Pub, 1995. Print.

3. Giant Salamander. Animals of the Rainforest, n.d. Web. 27 May 2014.

3. "Pacific Giant Salamander." B.C. Frogwatch Program. British Columbia, n.d. Web. 29 May 2014. <>

Created By:
Jacob Moore '14, Natasha Karan '16

Return to Amphibian Species