California Wildlife Habitat Relationships System
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
California Interagency Wildlife Task Group

Life History account for Ensatina klauberi

Written by: S. Morey, H. Basey
Reviewed by: T. Papenfuss
Edited by: R. Duke
Updated by: CWHR Program Staff, September 2005



Once considered a subspecies of E. eschscholtzii, E. klauberi has now been elevated to full species status (Alexandrino et al. 2005). E. klauberi is found in the San Bernardino, San Gabriel, San Jacinto and Transverse mountains of Southern California.


Most feeding appears to occur at night during wet periods. Food consists primarily of spiders, insects (especially collembolans, coleopterans, camel crickets, termites, and ants), millipedes, centipedes, and sowbugs (Stebbins 1954).

During the moist periods of fall, winter, and spring precipitation, individuals seek cover under surface objects such as logs and boards, rocks, and to a lesser extent, moist leaf litter. Salamanders retreat to rodent burrows or other moist places underground as surface moisture declines in summer. They may also retreat from the surface in winter at higher elevations (Stebbins 1954), although individuals have been collected mid-winter in the Sierra at 1472 m (4770 ft) under logs covered by 30 cm (12 in) of snow.

Eggs are usually found on moist surfaces under or within decaying logs, under pieces of bark, or in moist rock fissures (Stebbins 1954). One egg cluster was found inside the nest chamber of a mountain beaver (Storer 1925).

This species prefers moist, but not saturated, soils and loses body water rapidly on dry substrates (Cohen 1952). Periods of surface activity are strongly correlated with fall, winter, and spring precipitation. Pattern: No additional information.


Activity Patterns:
Nocturnal surface activity during periods of fall, winter and spring precipitation. Seasonal Movements/Migration: Retreats to rodent burrows or other subterranean cover in summer, and possibly during the cooler periods of winter at higher elevations. Home Range: Marked individuals have been found to move less than 60 m (195 ft) from the point of initial capture. Males appear to have home ranges about twice as large as females (Stebbins 1954). It is assumed that the area of surface activity occurs over, or in proximity to, the area of subterranean activity. Subterranean activity is probably minimal.

(See The Species Problem , Taxonomy of Ensatina, and Review by Wake, et al)

More information available on Ensatina eschscholtzi:



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