SPECIES ID / Amphibians

Salamanders and Newts (Caudatans)

Coastal Giant Salamander


Dicamptodon tenebrosus

Identification Tips:

• Largest salamander in North America; to 30 cm
• Light and dark brown marking in complex pattern on head, back and sides
• Tail less than half total length
• Legs and tail stout and strong
• No visible gland behind eye
• No webbing on feet

• Streamlined shape
• Small fuzzy gills on neck and short fin on tail
• Black or dark brown
• Only marking is a light line from eye to angle of jaw
• May reach 200 mm long

Conservation Status:

British ColumbiaCanadaNatureserve
COSEWICSpecies at Risk Act
Blue ListThreatenedThreatenedG5, S2S3

Life History:

• Female attach 100-200 eggs to logs or rocks in creeks in spring or fall and tends them until hatching
• Larvae are aquatic for 5 to 6 years and may reach 20 cm in length
• May migrate between aquatic breeding sites and terrestrial habitats
• Sexual maturity occurs 2 or more years after metamorphosis and individuals may live 20 years
• Some mature sexually in larval form, retaining gills and plain colouration
• Adults spend most of their time underground but may forage in the open at night in wet weather
• They dig well but often use burrows of small mammals
• Adults eat terrestrial invertebrates, small snakes, shrews, mice and other salamanders


• Terrestrial adults found in under rocks and logs in moist forests near mountain streams or shores of lakes
• Larvae and aquatic adults are found in clear, cool or cold streams or mountain lakes.
• May live underground in interstitial spaces between rocks and boulders, including when water is not flowing at surface.


British Columbia
• Known only from Chilliwack River valley and Cultus Lake areas

• Chilliwack River Valley to Northern California

Primary Information Sources:
 Efauna BC: http://ibis.geog.ubc.ca/biodiversity/efauna/
 BC Conservation Data Centre: http://a100.gov.bc.ca/pub/eswp/