species of amphibian

Ensatina is a genus of lungless salamanders. They are a complex of subspecies of Ensatina eschscholtzii, found in forests in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California and Baja California, Mexico.[source?]

Ensatina eschscholtzii e.jpg
Monterey Ensatina
Scientific classification

Gray, 1850
E. eschscholtzii

Ring speciesEdit

The Ensatina salamander is a ring species in the mountains around the Californian Central Valley.[1] The complex forms a horseshoe shape around the mountains. Though interbreeding can happen between each of the 19 populations around the horseshoe, the Ensatina eschscholtzii subspecies on the western end of the horseshoe cannot interbreed with the Ensatina klauberi on the eastern end.[2] It is an illustration of "nearly all stages in a speciation process" (Dobzhansky).[1][3] Richard Highton argued that Ensatina is a case of multiple species and not a continuum of one species.[4]


  • Yellow Blotched Ensatina — E. e. croceater (Cope, 1868)
  • Monterey Ensatina — E. e. eschscholtzii Gray, 1850
  • Large Blotched Ensatina — E. e. klauberi Dunn, 1929
  • Oregon Ensatina — E. e. oregonensis (Girard, 1856)
  • Painted Ensatina — E. e. picta Wood, 1940
  • Sierra Nevada Ensatina — E. e. platensis (Jiménez de la Espada, 1875)
  • Yellow Eyed Ensatina — E. e. xanthoptica Stebbins, 1949


  1. 1.0 1.1 Wake D. 1997. Incipient species formation in salamanders of the Ensatina complex Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 94:7761-7767
  2. Dawkins R. 2004. The Ancestor's Tale: a pilgrimage to the dawn of life: Ring species (the salamander's tale). ISBN 0-618-00583-8
  3. Dobzhansky T. 1958. A century of Darwin, ed Barnett S.A. Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, MA. pp 19–55.
  4. Highton, Richard 1998 (1998). "Is Ensatina eschscholtzii a ring-species?". Herpetologica. 54 (2): 254–278. JSTOR 3893431.