Welcome to the Washington Herp Atlas. The Washington Herpetofaunal Atlas Project is a cooperative project of the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and US Forest Service (USFS).
The Washington Herp Atlas serves two primary purposes. The first purpose is to provide the most current information available on Washington's herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles, or "herps") including information on life history, habitat, status, threats, management concerns and distribution. The second purpose is to obtain additional information about Washington's amphibians and reptiles. To obtain reliable information, identifications must be accurate. To facilitate this, the atlas has species accounts that feature descriptions, identification tips, habitat information and photographs. The photographs include a variety of life stages, typical habitat and a set of annotated photographs with key identification features indicated. In addition, inventory and research needs for each species are listed.
Information obtained through this project will be used to track the current status of each species, document rare species occurrences, analyze population trends, identify critical habitat and establish conservation priorities.
The Washington Herp Atlas was created for field personnel and dedicated amateurs interested in reptiles and amphibians, as well as individuals involved in land management activities and conservation efforts. The atlas is designed to be accessible to a wide audience with little training in herpetology. Common names are used in most cases and technical terminology is avoided where possible. The information is presented in a format designed to help field personnel identify species, and also to provide planners and managers with information on status and possible management concerns.
The original species accounts and maps will be updated periodically to reflect new research and information.
Scientific nomenclature in the Washington Herp Atlas follows Crother (2000) with the exception of revisions to the tailed frog (Nielson et al. 2001), Red-legged Frog (Shaffer et al. 2004) and Western Pond Turtle (Holman and Fritz 2001). Many of the modified common names presented in Crother (2000) are not followed here but will be reconsidered in the future if accepted by herpetologists.
There are many reptile and amphibian field guides available for the Northwest. The Washington Herp Atlas is not meant to replace them, but rather to be used as a supplement with specific information about Washington populations. The following list includes a brief description of each book and is intended to help the reader identify the guide best suited for their level of expertise and interest. For those interested in identifying frog species by their advertisement call, Frog and Toad Calls of the Pacific Coast is available from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Library of Natural Sound. The Washington Herp Atlas checklist can be used to identify taxonomic changes that have occurred since these books and tape were published.
Corkran, C. C. and C. Thoms. 1996. Amphibians of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Lone Pine, Redmond, Washington. 175 pp.
This field guide covers the amphibians of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. It features introductory information on amphibians, how to handle and measure amphibians, how to photograph amphibians and habitat information. The individual species accounts include identification information for each life stage, including eggs, hatchlings, larvae and metamorphosed juveniles and adults, as well as a description of typical habitat and a generalized distribution map. The information is concise and easy to understand.
Jones, L.L.C., W.P. Leonard and D.H. Olson (Coordinating Editors). 2005. Amphibians of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington.
This recently published field guide is now available in stores.
Leonard, W.P., H.A. Brown, L.L.C. Jones, K.R. McAllister and R.M. Storm. 1993. Amphibians of Washington and Oregon. Seattle Audubon Society The Trailside Series, Seattle, Washington. 169 pp.
This book covers the amphibian species that occur in Washington and Oregon. It includes introductory information on amphibians, a description of each species highlighting the most important identification features, similar species, distribution information, habits and habitats and remarks. There are also generalized distribution maps for each species. The accounts are concise and easy to understand. Identification information focuses on the larval and terrestrial forms (adults and juveniles). The photographs are excellent and show the variation found in each species. Photographs and information on amphibian egg and tadpole identification is limited.
Nussbaum, R.A., E.D. Brodies, Jr., and R.M. Storm. 1983. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Pacific Northwest. University of Idaho Press, Moscow, Idaho. 332 pp.
This book is the most technical of the field guides available for the Northwest. The introduction includes information on collecting and observing amphibians and reptiles, care in captivity and the composition and origin of the herpetofauna of the region. The main text includes identification keys and detailed information on identification traits, variation, life history, distribution dot maps, a large section of general references and literature cited. This book remains a must for the serious herpetologist even with all the changes that have occurred in the last twenty years. The distribution maps, though excellent for conveying a general sense of species' ranges, are somewhat dated.
St. John, Alan. 2002. Reptiles of the Northwest: California to Alaska, Rockies to the Coast. Lone Pine Publishing. 272 pp.
This field guide covers the reptile species that occur from California to southern Alaska and from the Great Divide to the Pacific Coast. It includes general information about reptiles, reptile habitats in the northwest, field study techniques and identification keys in the form of “Quick Keys.” For each of the 42 species covered, information is presented on identification, variation found within the species, similar species, distribution, habitat and behavior, as well as a variety of photographs. This field guide differs from other field guides by including field notes and personal anecdotes from the author.
Storm, R.M. and W. P. Leonard, W.P. (Coordinating Editors). 1995. Reptiles of Washington and Oregon. Seattle Audubon Society The Trailside Series, Seattle, Washington. 176 pp.
This field guide covers the reptile species that occur in Washington and Oregon. It includes introductory information on reptiles, a description of each species highlighting the most important identification features, similar species, distribution information, habits and habitats and remarks. There are also generalized distribution maps for each species. The accounts are concise and easy to understand. The photographs are excellent and show the types of variation found in each species, as well as important identification traits.
Stebbins, R. C. 2003. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, 3nd Edition. The Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 533 pp.
This is a field guide to the reptiles and amphibians of Western North America. The introduction features basic information on amphibians and reptiles including information on collecting and observing, care in captivity, field study and protection. It contains identification keys, distinguishing characteristics of each species, a large number of illustrations and color plates, information on family groups, similar species, range, habitats, basic life history, and sex and age differences. There are also generalized distribution maps for each species.
The creation of the on-line Washington Herp Atlas was made possible through Challenge Cost-share agreements between the Washington State Department of Natural Resources' Natural Heritage Program and the Spokane District of the U.S.D.I. Bureau of Land Management and through the cooperation of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Lisa Hallock (DNR), Todd Thompson (BLM) and Kelly McAllister (WDFW) are the lead participants from each agency. The Colville National Forest of the USDA Forest Service and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources' Natural Heritage Program provided additional funding in the form of a Challenge Cost-share agreement to update and expand the atlas in 2005. Chris Loggers (USFS) was responsible for securing the US Forest Service portion of this funding.
The Washington State Gap Analysis Project provided the initial stimulus for the distribution maps. Christian Grue, Kelly Cassidy, and Karen Dvornich provided leadership in the compilation of quality distributional data. Kelly McAllister, Tom Owens, Lori Salzer and others of the Wildlife Resource Data System section of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are the principle staff responsible for the creation of the reptile and amphibian database and for ongoing database development. The database, and the distribution maps included in this atlas, rely in large part on information shared with WDFW by various museums (listed below) and individual biologists.
Special thanks are due to the following people:
Todd Thompson who consistently located funding to keep this project going. Steve Farone whose enthusiasm in designing the website is greatly appreciated. Bill Leonard who provided early encouragement for the project and generously contributed essential photographs that enhanced the atlas. And to Kelly McAllister who co-authored all of the species accounts on his personal time.
List of Contributors and Reviewers
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, Washington 98501-1091. Reviewed the Western Pond Turtle account.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Trout Lake, Washington 98650. Contributed information on Western Pond Turtle research in Skamania and Klickitat counties.
Washington Natural Heritage Program, Dept. of Natural Resources, Olympia, WA 47014. Photograph contribution.
USDA Forest Service, PNW Research Station, Olympia, Washington. Reviewed the Larch Mountain Salamander account.
The Nature Conservancy, Seattle, Washington 98101. Designed the Website.
Washington Natural Heritage Program, WA Department of Natural Resources, Olympia, Washington 98504-7014. Edited original 18 species accounts.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, Washington 98501-1091. Reviewed the Leopard Frog account and contributed information on Leopard Frog research in Washington.
Olympia, Washington 98512. Contributed photographs.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, Washington 98501-3143 . Developed the concept for this website, coordinated the project, edited the content, co-authored the text and contributed photographs.
Michigan State University Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. Photograph contribution.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, Washington 98501-1091. Reviewed the Leopard Frog account.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, Washington 98501-1091. Reviewed and contributed to the Long-toed Salamander, Cascade Torrent Salamander, Columbia Torrent Salamander, Olympic Torrent Salamander, Ensatina, Oregon Spotted Frog, Columbia Spotted Frog, Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog, Coastal Tailed Frog, Western Toad, Pacific Treefrog, Great Basin Spadefoot, Northern Red-legged Frog, Painted Turtle, Western Fence Lizard accounts, and provided current research information for the Dunn’s Salamander, Van Dyke’s Salamander, Coastal Tailed Frog and Red-legged Frog accounts.
USDA Forest Service, PNW Research Station, Olympia, Washington. Reviewed the Van Dyke's Salamander account.
Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington. Reviewed the Pygmy Short-horned Lizard account.
Washington Department of Transportation, Olympia, 98504-7300. Reviewed the Sharptail Snake account and contributed photographs.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, Washington 98501-1091. Reviewed the Western Pond Turtle account and contributed photographs.
U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Colville National Forest, Kettle Falls, Washington 99141. Secured the USDA Forest Service portion of the funding for this project and contributed information on Tiger Salamanders in the Colville area.
Bureau of Land Management, Spokane, Washington 99212. Photograph contribution.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, Washington 98501-1091. Coordinating activities within the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, co-authored the text and contributed photographs.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, Washington 98501-1091. Reviewed the Western Red-backed Salamander species account and contributed information to the Cope’s Giant Salamander species account.
Washington Natural Heritage Program, WA Department of Natural Resources, Olympia, Washington 98504-7014. Maintains the website for the WA Herp Atlas.
Jena, Thuringia, Germany. Contributed photographs.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, Washington 98501-1091. Provided comments on some of the species accounts.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N, Olympia, Washington 98501-1091. Generated the distribution maps from the WDFW reptile and amphibian database.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N, Olympia, Washington 98501-1091. Maintains the WDFW reptile and amphibian database.
Greenbank, WA. Photograph contribution.
Biology Department, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington. Reviewed the Leopard Frog account and contributed photographs.
The Campbell Group, Portland, OR 97258. Reviewed and contributed information for the Northwestern Salamander account.
United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Spokane District Office, 1103 N. Fancher, Spokane, Washington 99212-1275. Identified and secured the BLM portion of the funding, reviewed the original 18 species accounts and contributed photographs.
The following museums provided their records to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1994: The American Museum of Natural History; Auburn University; Brigham Young University; California Academy of Sciences; Florida Museum of Natural History; Field Museum of Natural History; Fort Worth Museum of Science and Industry; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Illinois Natural History Survey; Los Angeles County Museum; Louisiana State University; Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology; Michigan Museum of Zoology ; Michigan State University; Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at University of California, Berkeley; National Museum of Natural History; North Carolina Museum of Natural History; New Mexico State University; Pacific Lutheran University; Slater Museum of Natural History at University of Puget South; Southern Illinois University; Stecker Museum at Baylor University; Texas A&M University; Tulane University; University of Colorado; University of Missouri at Columbia; University of Idaho; University of Kansas, University of Oklahoma; University of Texas at El Paso; University of Washington Burke Museum; Walla Walla College; Washington State University; and Yale University.
The photographic images used in this project came from numerous sources and are used with permission; credits are noted on each image. All images contained hereafter are the property of the said photographer. They are not to be reproduced, copied, printed, stored, or distributed without permission of the photographer. Bill Leonard (W.P. Leonard) generously donated the majority of photos for use in this project. He can be contacted at email@example.com. Contact information for the other photographs is listed under the Contributors and Reviewers Section.
Four links to information are always visible at the top of your browser window (Species Fact Sheets, Contributions & Questions, References, and Herp Atlas Home). These links are described in the table below.
Within the text of the Washington Herp Atlas, links look like this.
|This link leads to the Checklist of Washington Amphibians and Reptiles. To display a fact sheet, click 'Species Fact Sheets' and then select the species of interest from either the checklist or from the list of common names on the side bar next to the checklist. Each fact sheet includes descriptions, identification tips, management concerns, and links to Photos, Key Features, and Distribution Maps.
|Within each Species Fact Sheet are these links to additional pages:||Currently, the atlas describes 28 of the 46 native species known to occur in Washington. These 28 initial species were chosen because they are rare, sensitive or believed to be declining in Washington and/or are of management interest to the agencies involved in the project.|
|Links which open the photos page are located near the top of the fact sheet and in the text of the General Description section. Each photos page displays photographs of the species and its habitat. All photographs are reproduced with the photographers permission. The photos page opens in a separate window. To view both the photos page and the key features pages side-by-side, open the photos page, then click the 'key features page' link at the bottom of the photos page.|
|Links to the key features page are located near the top of the fact sheet and in the text of the Identification section. A link is also available at the bottom of the photos page. Each key features page displays photos annotated with identification features. All photographs are reproduced with the photographers permission.|
|Links to the distribution map page are located near the top of the fact sheet and in the text of the Range section. Distribution Maps show known occurrences of the species in Washington with recent observations (last 20 years) differentiated from historical observations. Map data is presented courtesy of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.|
|Click on the links for 'status', 'state rank', or 'global rank', to open the Definitions page which defines terms used by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Washington Natural Heritage Program.|
|This link leads to information about contributing amphibian or reptile sightings to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. From this page, you can also contact the herpetologist for the Washington Natural Heritage Program, or the Herp Atlas webmaster.|
|References||This link leads to a complete list of all literature citations and personal communications citations in the website.|
|Herp Atlas Home||This link leads back to this Introduction page.|
Washington Herp Atlas, 2009. Washington Natural Heritage Program, Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, U.S.D.I. Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service
Last updated: June 2009