Nature Notes

Volume XIII No. 1 - October, 1947

A Check List Of Amphibians And Reptiles Of Crater Lake National Park
By W. S. Vincent, Ranger-Naturalist

During the summer season an attempt has been made to prepare a check list of recorded amphibians and reptiles from the park. This attempt has been only partially successful, due to lack of adequate time and facilities to make a thorough search of some of the less frequented areas of the park, particularly those areas of the north and east sections of the park. An adequate search in these areas should reveal some of the hitherto unrecorded desert forms.

The list is a revision of the section included in "An Annotated List of the Vertebrates" by Barry Campbell in the Naturalist Manual for Crater Lake National Park (1934). This list seems to be the only one available, and since its completion considerable changes in nomenclature have been made. Furthermore, some of the varieties and species given are no longer valid, so an attempt has been made particularly to clarify and complete some of the more obscure points.



1. Triturus granulosus mazamae (Rathke) Twitty. Carter Lake Newt.

This form was listed as T. torosus by Campbell. In more recent work, on forms found on the Pacific Coast, Twitty included all in the species granulosus, and described the form found in the lake as the subspecies mazamae. This subspecies is highly pigmented, and reaches a maximum length of about eight inches. During the summer several adults and larvae in various stages of development were found in Emerald Pool on Wizard Island. No others were observed except four adults found in the stomachs of three rainbow trout caught in the lake proper.

Description: Adult, 5-8"; back quite roughly pebbled, rich chocolate brown, belly reddish-orange; juvenile (just transformed), 2-1/2-4",

color as adult.

2. Ambystoma macrodatylm (Baird). Long-toed Salamander.

Common along the lake shore and in certain pools in Munson valley. Larvae from 1" to 4", collected in Munson valley. Larvae kept in Laboratory transformed into adults which were about 4" in length. No evidence of reproduction of this form observed in other parts of the park.

Description: Adult, 3-1/2-5"; back smooth with yellowish mottlings on dark green, sides with 11 costal grooves.


1. Rana cascadii (Baird and Girard). Cascade Frog.

This is one of the most common animals of the park; it is found in abundance along all streams and water courses of the region. This form is reported by Campbell as being R. pretiosa, but Dr. Kenneth Gordon, in personal communication, places it in the above classification.

Description: Adult, 3-4-1/2" body and head length; hind legs longer than body-head length; ground color pale to dark green with numerous black spots on back; underside yellow to pinkish on legs. Larvae, very darkly pigmented, extremely numerous in spring fed pools.

2. Rana boylii boylii (Baird). California Yellow-legged Frog.

This form was first recorded from the park during the present season (see page 22) when one specimen was collected in Red Blanket Creek at the extreme southern border of the park. Further search should reveal this form in all canyons of the Rogue River drainage and possibly in Annie Creek.

Description: See page 22.

3. Hyla regilla (Baird and Girard). Pacific Tree Frog.

This form seems to be fairly common in the park. It has been heard in the Headquarters area, Boundary Springs, Red Cone, and on Wizard Island during the present season.

This frog has a voice all out of proportion to his size and is often heard in chorus in the spring breeding season. An interesting feature is the adhesive disc which is present on the tip of each of the toes, enabling the frog to cling to a vertical glass plate.

Description: Adult, small (2" or less), color variable with the habitat, usually tan to gray-green with dark mottlings.


1. Ascaphis truii Steuneger. Bell's Toad.

This form was reported by Campbell as being common in the Bybee Creek area, but none have been collected during the present season. This toad is the only North American representative of an Asiatic species. It resembles the genus Rana but has several modifying features.

Description: Adults, 2-3" head body length, body greenish with darker mottlings, male with tail-like protuberance which is actually a modified cloaca. Larvae characterized by an enlarged upper jaw and minute lower jaw that acts as a sucker to assist in clinging to rocks in fast mountain streams.

2. Bufo boreas boreas (Baird and Girard). Northwestern Toad.

A quite common large toad in all areas of the park. Has been found in such unusual places as the crater of Wizard Island and atop Munson Ridge.

Description: 4-5" head body length, back gray to greenish with large warts and darker mottlings.



1. Thamnophis sirtalis ssp. (Blainville). Garter Snake.

This is the only snake as yet observed within the park and is quite rare. Seven specimens have been reported during the present season from two localities, the lake shore and the beaver dam area of Copeland Creek. One specimen collected by Ranger S. Sprecker on the lake shore was unusual due to its lack of coloration. The stripes of dark gray were only faintly visible on the basic black coloration. This specimen was about 10" in length. One of those collected in the Copeland Creek area was about 36". This form was reported by Campbell as T. s. infernalis, the Pacific garter snake, but as the status of this particular subspecies is somewhat uncertain, no attempt has been made to allocated the form observed to a particular subdivision.


1. Gerrhonotus coeruleus principus (Baird and Girard)
Gerrhonotus principa (Baird and Girard). Northern Alligator Lizard.

This rather large lizard is quite common on the talus slope just west of Headquarters and is quite probably the same form which has been observed on the lake shore. This is a rather retiring form, and because of its shy habits is probably more widely distributed than was formerly supposed.

Description: 7-9", back brownish with black markings; quite long fragile tail and large gaping jaws.

2. Gerrhonotus coeruleus shastensis (Fitch). Shasta Alligator Lizard.

A single specimen observed in the field on upper Bybee Creek was tentatively identified as this form. Further collection is desirable.

Description: Similar to above but larger, 10" and longer; body brown with dark markings with lighter colored head.

3. Phrynosoma douglassi douglassii (Bell). Pigmy Horned Toad.

Reported by Campbell as being collected on the Wineglass motorway. This form is probably fairly common in the desert-like eastern sections of the park.

Description: 2-3", back with spiny scales; short horns behind the eyes; two rows of blackish dots down back bordered with yellow or white; underside white.

The above list of reptiles is undoubtedly far from complete. A list of a few of the forms which might be expected to be found within the park boundaries is given below:

Scelopores occidentalisBlue-bellied lizard
Scelopores fraciosusMountain swift
Eumeses skiltonianusBlue-tailed skink
Coluber constrictorYellow-bellied racer
Pituophis cateniferGopher snake
Lampropeltis sp.King snakes
Crotalus viridus oreganusPacific rattlesnake
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