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Rare Albino Ensatina Salamander Spotted in Vancouver, BC's Stanley Park

March 19, 2014




Members of the Stanley Park Ecology Society in Vancouver, British Columbia found a salamander in Vancouver's Stanley Park on March 16 that is not seen regularly at the park or elsewhere for that matter. The ensatina salamander (Ensatina eschscholtzii) that was spotted is an albino, making it rare.

Robyn Worcester was hosting Herptile Blitz with students of BCIT's Fish, Wildlife, and Recreation program when she spotted the amphibian. She told the Huffington Post Canada that when she first saw it, she wasn't quite sure what species it was as she had seen lots of ensatina salamanders, but not a completely white specimen. She first thought the salamander was leucistic, but then noted its red eyes, which led her to conclude it was an albino. The salamander was captured so it could be measured and weighed, and then it was released under the log where it was first found.

 

ensatina salamander

Photo courtesy Stanley Park Ecology Society

The ensatina salamander (Ensatina eschscholtzii) is fairly common but albino ensatina salamanders are rare.

Ensatina salamanders range from British Columbia through the West Coast of the United States down to Baja California. They are a lungless salamander that breathes through the pores in their skin. They average three to five inches in length and can be found under logs and brush and near or in streams and lakes and other areas with moist substrate. There are seven subspecies: Yellow Blotched Ensatina (E. e. croceater), Monterey Ensatina (E. e. eschscholtzii), Large Blotched Ensatina(E. e. klauberi), Oregon Ensatina (E. e. oregonensis), Painted Ensatina (E. e. picta), Sierra Nevada Ensatina (E. e. platensis), and Yellow Eyed Ensatina (E. e. xanthoptica).

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