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Publication Type:

Journal Article


NORTHWEST SCIENCE, Volume 68, Issue 3, p.197-204 (1994)


From 28 May to 22 August 1992, an intensive survey of the amphibians and reptiles along the entire length of the Truckee River system was conducted during drought conditions. The main objective was to determine the current distribution of amphibians and reptiles (especially obligate aquatic/riparian species) within this river system. Four amphibian and 8 reptilian species were observed. Of these 12 species, 5 (42%) are obligate aquatic/riparian species: the western toad (Bufo bores), northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens), Pacific chorus frog (Pseudacris regilla); bullfrog (R. catesbeiana), and western aquatic garter snake (Thamnophis couchi). Only two species (Pacific chorus frog and western terrestrial garter snake (T. elegans)) were found along the entire Truckee River. The distribution of the northern leopard frog appears to be decreasing and is now restricted to only a small stretch of the river. The decreased distribution of the leopard frog in the Truckee is possibly due to success of the introduced bullfrog. No Great Basin spadefoot toads (Spea intermontana), mountain yellow-legged frogs (R. muscosa), or western pond turtles were observed. Based on the literature and our knowledge of the local herpetofauna, individuals of these species should occur within the Truckee River system. The results of this study that indicate declines in amphibian distribution and population size correlate with other investigations in the Northwest, other parts of the United States, and the world.