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Assessment Results




© 2015 Will Lattea (1 of 9 )

AmphibiaWeb species account




IUCN Red List assessment


Conservation Needs Assessment

Plethodon hubrichti ,   Peaks of Otter Salamander
Assessed for:  United States   on: 23 Sep 2018   by: Vincent Farallo  
Assessment Status: Completed  
Order:   Caudata     Family:   Plethodontidae

IUCN Global Red List:   Vulnerable (VU)   
IUCN National Red List:   (not assessed)   
Distribution:     United States  
Evolutionary Distinctiveness score:   10.52847629 
Recommended Conservation Actions:   None   
Additional Comments:   Initial assessment data compiled by Joseph C. Mitchell and Jill A. Wicknick from “Amphibian Declines: The Conservation Status of United States Species”, edited by Michael Lannoo (©2005 by the Regents of the University of California), used with permission of the editor. The book is available from UC Press, http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/9484.html, and species accounts can be found on AmphibiaWeb, www.amphibiaweb.org. Original species account transcribed by Anne Baker. The account was updated by Vincent Farallo in September 2018. 

Question #Short NameQuestion TextResponseComments
1 Extinction risk Current IUCN Red List category. [Data obtained from the IUCN Red List.] Vulnerable (VU) Peaks of Otter salamanders are recognized as a Federal species At Risk by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and listed as a Species of Concern by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
2 Possibly extinct Is there a strong possibility that this species might be extinct in the wild? No / unlikely
3 Phylogenetic significance The taxon’s Evolutionary Distinctiveness (ED) score, as generated by the ZSL EDGE program. (These data are not editable by Assessors). ED value < 20
4 Protected habitat Is a population of at least 50% of the individuals of the taxon included within a reliably protected area or areas? Yes / probably The current conservation plan followed by the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. National Park Service (George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Blue Ridge Parkway, 1997) specifies the entire range of the Peaks of Otter salamander as a Special Biological Area with a primary conservation area that allows no logging activities and a secondary conservation area that allows logging to take place under certain restrictions
5 Habitat for reintroduction Does enough suitable habitat exist, either within or outside of currently protected areas that is suitable for potential reintroduction or translocation? Yes / probably
6 Previous reintroductions Have reintroduction or translocation attempts been made in the past for this species? No
7 Threat mitigation Are the threats facing the taxon, including any new and emerging threats not considered in the IUCN Red List, potentially reversible? Species is effectively protected However, the Virginia Wildlife Action Plan from 2015 list the species as tier 1 with a rank C conservation opportunity ranking. Indicating they have critical conservation need and that "Managers have failed to identify “on the ground” actions or research needs that could benefit this species or its habitat or all identified conservation opportunities for a species have been exhausted." So more can certainly be done to protect this species.
8 Over-collection from the wild Is the taxon suffering from unsustainable collection within its natural range, either for food, for the pet trade or for any other reason, which threatens the species’ continued persistence in the wild? No / unlikely
9 Population recovery Is the known population of this species in the wild large enough to recover naturally, without ex situ intervention if threats are mitigated? Yes / probably The species is locally abundant within it's limited distribution.
10 Biological distinctiveness Does the taxon exhibit, for example, a distinctive reproductive mode, behaviour, aspect of morphology or physiology, within its Class (e.g. Amphibia, Reptilia etc.)? No aspect of biology known to be exceptional
11 Cultural/socio-economic importance Does the taxon have a special human cultural value (e.g. as a national or regional symbol, in a historic context, featuring in traditional stories) or economic value (e.g. food, traditional medicine, tourism) within its natural range or in a wider global context? No
12 Scientific importance Is the species vital to current or planned research other than species-specific ecology/biology/conservation? (e.g. human medicine, climate change, environmental pollutants and conservation science), within its Class (e.g. Amphibia, Reptilia etc.)? No research dependent on this species
13 Ex situ research Does conserving this species (or closely related species) in situ depend upon research that can be most easily carried out ex situ? No
14 Husbandry analog Do the biological and ecological attributes of this species make it suitable for developing husbandry regimes for more threatened related species? i.e. could this species be used in captivity to help to develop husbandry and breeding protocols which could be used for a similar, but more endangered species at a later stage? No
15 Captive breeding Has this species been successfully maintained and bred in captivity? Not held in captivity to date The ZIMS database has no records of this species being held in captivity
16 Educational potential Is the species especially diurnal/active/colourful and therefore suited to be an educational ambassador for conservation of this group of species? No
17 Mandate Is there an existing conservation mandate recommending the ex situ conservation of this taxon? No
18 Range State approval Would a proposed ex situ initiative for this species be supported (and approved) by the range State (either within the range State or out-of-country ex situ)? Yes / probably
19 Founder specimens Are sufficient animals of the taxon available or potentially available (from wild or captive sources) to initiate the specified ex situ program? Yes / probably
20 Taxonomic status Has a complete taxonomic analysis of the species in the wild been carried out, to fully understand the functional unit you wish to conserve (i.e. have species limits been determined)? Yes Several phylogenetic and systematic studies including Plethodon hubrichti (e.g., Sites et al. 2004, Bayer et al. 2012, Wiens et al. 2006) have been completed.

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