Inyo Mountain Salamander, by Richard Bartlett on 2023-11-27 00:30:00
This adult Inyo Mountain was about 4" in total length.
I think I can move that boulder, Gary said. Itís the only thing I can see thatís blocking access.
I agreed with the 2nd of Garyís statement, but the initial comment concerned me. It was a BIG boulder and neither Gary nor I were of boulder-moving stature. But move it he did, and we were again on our way along a tooth-loosening Jeep trailóand we were not in a Jeep.
It was an amphibian, a caudatan, that had brought us onto this sun-drenched trail. Around us stretched the peaks of the Inyo Mountains. Soon, no more boulders halting progression, we hoped this trail would swing a bit southward and then as it met with a tiny mountain stream, take us again eastward. And if we were then where we thought we actually should be, the stream would widen a bit, the moist banks would be surrounded by rock flakes, and beneath those flakes an interesting species of slender salamander, the Inyo Mountain Slender Salamander,Batrachoseps campi
, was known to dwell.
As hoped for the Inyo Mountain Salamander we found was of the silvery phase. The presence of this salamander in an otherwise sere habitat proved the importance of even tiny trickles.
Guess what? Lady Luck was with us. We were right on target.
In a sudden turn the trail neared the trickle even more closely. The dried grasses gave way to tiny but beautiful orchids. And then the trail ended. We hopped out and carefully made our way to a stand of small shrubs interspersed with an occasional desert palm and sycamore. There the stream widened to a shallow 10 or 12 foot puddle, and along the banks were the rock shards we had hoped for.
As hoped, our careful search (of only a few minutes) turned up a salamander, one only, but this one was of the light phase. Photos were taken, the salamander replaced, and we left. A half hour later were back on the paved road, en route to another herp quest.
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