California. Dept. of Fish and Game.

California fish and game (Volume 69, no. 3) online

. (page 4 of 8)
Online LibraryCalifornia. Dept. of Fish and GameCalifornia fish and game (Volume 69, no. 3) → online text (page 4 of 8)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

River. Van Denburgh (1917) cortcluded that this turtle was an escaped specimen from the San
Francisco Fish Markets and originated from China. Pope (1935) concurred with Van Denburgh
and declared the specimen to be Trionyx sinensis Weigmann, a softshell turtle native only to
eastern Asia. Webb (1975) has since considered this softshell to be T. steindachneri Slebenrock,
a species also native to Asia." No other specimens have been recorded from the wild in
California. Aspidonectes californiana is not a valid taxonomic entity.

Established Exotic Species:

Order Anura — Toads and Frogs.

Family PIPIDAE — Tongueless Frogs.

1. Xenopus laevis Daudin. African clawed frog *.

Several species of the genus Xenopus were once widely imported into the state for use in
pregnancy tests and also for the pet trade (McCoid and Fritts 1980). Escaped or released
individuals have developed large breeding populations in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San
Diego counties (St. Amant, Hoover, and Stewart 1973; McCoid 1976; McCoid and Fritts 1980).
The genetic make-up of some of these populations is not known and may be composed of more
than one species (J. St. Amant, Fisheries Biologist, Calif. Dept. of Fish and Game, pers. commun.).
The population in the Santa Clara River Basin at Vasquez Rocks, Los Angeles County, has been
greatly reduced to prevent the spread of the species into adjacent drainages further north (St.
Amant 1975, Zacuto 1975, Bell 1978, Branning 1979). To date, there have been no records of any
clawed frogs north of Los Angeles County with the exception of the specimen mentioned by
McCoid and Fritts (1980) from Yolo County.

Family RANIDAE— True Frogs.

2. Rana catesbeiana Shaw, bullfrog *.

Uncertainty exists over the date of the first introduction of this species into California (Jennings,
in prep.). Storer (1922, 1925) states that the bullfrog was introduced several times in California
between 1914 and 1920 from stock obtained in Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, and else-

*' Taxonomy after Iverson (1981).
"Taxonomy after Iverson (1979).

^ Both of these turtles have been introduced into the Hawaiian Islands and are now established locally in several
areas (Ernst and Barbour 1972; McKeown and Webb 1982).


where. It was later spread rapidly throughout the state by well-meaning naturalists and farmers
and is now established in most areas except high mountains and deserts (Stebbins 1972, Bury
and Luckenbach 1976). An important game animal (Treanor and Nicola 1972, Treanor 1975),
it may have contributed to the decline of two native frog species in the Central Valley (Moyle

3. Rana pipiens Schreber. northern leopard frog *.

Some uncertaintly exists over the native range and genetic make-up of R. pipiens populations
found in California. The frog is reportedly native east of the Sierra Nevada Crest and along
Colorado River (Bury and Luckenbach 1976) and was probably introduced into the Lake Tahoe
Basin and perhaps Modoc and Inyo counties after the turn of the century (Bryant 1917, Storer
19^5, Bury and Luckenbach 1976). It is known to have been introduced into El Dorado, Imperial,
Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, San Francisco, Tehama, and Tulare counties (Storer 1925; Banta and
Morafka 1966; Stebbins 1966, 1972; Dixon 1967; Moyle 1973; Bury and Luckenbach 1976). The
status of these introduced populations is not clear at this time although several appear well
established. The leopard frogs found in the Lake Tahoe Basin and northeastern California are
definitely R. pipiens (Pace 1974), while leopard frogs found elsewhere in the State probably
represent a mixture of stocks. Affinities of the Colorado River populations are currently under
study (Jennings, in prep.).

Order Testudines — Turtles.

Family CHELYDRIDAE— Snapping Turtles.

4. Cheiydra serpentina (Linnaeus), snapping turtle *.

4a. Cheiydra serpentina serpentina (Linnaeus), common snapping turtle *.

Reported as introduced into California (Pritchard 1979) and established in the vicinity of
Fresno, Fresno County (Stebbins 1972). Specimens have also been taken in San Diego River, San
Diego County (L. Bottroff, Fisheries Biologist, Calif. Dept. Fish and Game, pers. commun.). Long
Beach, Los Angeles County (L. Swantz, Orange County Chap, of the Calif. Turtle and Tortoise
Soc, pers. commun.). Walnut Creek, Contra Costa County, Corte Madera, Marin County, and
Colorado River (Bury and Luckenbach 1976). The origin of these populations is probably escaped
juveniles once kept as pets. The importation of snapping turtles into California is now prohibited
(California Fish and Game Code 1980).

Family EMYDIDAE— Box and Water Turtles.

5. Chrysemys scripta (Schoepff). slider*.

5a. Chrysemys scripta elegans (Wied). red-eared slider *.

Young of this turtle were once widely imported by the pet trade. Although their sale has been
greatly curtailed, the species has become well established in many areas of San Diego County.
Principal locations include: LJpperand Lower Otay, Miramar, El Capitan, Sweetwater, and Poway
reservoirs and San Diego River (L. Bottroff, pers. commun.). The species is also established in
several ponds near Long Beach, Los .Angeles County (L. Swantz, pers. commun.) and may be
reproducing in the Sacramento-San Joaquin drainage area.

Family TRIONYCHIDAE— Softshell Turtles.

6. Trionyx spiniferus Le Sueur, spiny softshell *.

6a. Trionyx spiniferus emoryi (Agassiz). Texas spiny softshell *.

Probably introduced into the lower Colorado River Basin from New Mexico around 1 9(X) ( Dill
1944, Miller 1946, Stebbins 1972). Now strongly established in Colorado River from the Interna-
tional Boundary upstream to Nevada and westward in Imperial County to Salton Sea. Specimens
have also been taken in San Pablo Reservoir, Contra Costa County, and San Gabriel River, Los
Angeles County (Bury and Luckenbach 1976). The species has recently become established in
Lower Otay Reservoir and San Diego River, San Diego County, from illegally released specimens
originating from Colorado River (L. Bottroff, pers. commun.). The turtle is currently classified as
a sport animal (California Fish and Game Commission 1981).

Exotic Species Unsuccessfully Introduced Or Of Questionable Status:

Order Caudata — Salamanders.
Family CRYPTOBRANCHIDAE— Giant Salamanders and Hellbenders.

1. Andrias japonicus (Temminck). Japanese giant salamander *.


Reported by Croker (1942) "to be found in the wild state in the Sacrannento Valley." This
statement is apparently based upon a single specimen collected from the Sacramento River. The
source of the salamander was a cargo vessel from Japan (W. Houck, Professor of Zoology,
Humboldt St. Univ., pers. commun.). Other specimens found include one reported by Myers
(1951 ) and another listed by Bury and Luckenbach (1976). Both appear to be introductions and
it is unlikely that the species is established in the State.

Family AMBYSTOMATIDAE— Mole Salamanders and Relatives.

2. Ambystoma tighnum (Green), tiger salamander.

2a. Ambystoma tigrinum diaboli Dunn, gray tiger salamander *.

2b. Ambystoma tigrinum mavortium Baird. barred tiger salamander. *

2c. Ambystoma tigrinum melanosticum (Baird). blotched tiger salamander*.

2d. Ambystoma tigrinum nebulosum Hallowell. Arizona tiger salamander *.

Larvae of these subspecies have been widely introduced into reservoirs in the Central Valley,
southern California, Colorado River Basin, and the Salton Sea from various sources for use as live
fish bait. Metamorphosed adults have been observed at China Lake, Kern County, Twenty Nine
Palms, San Bernardino County, and Santa Ana River, Orange and Riverside counties (Bury and
Luckenbach 1976, B. Brattstrom, Professor of Zoology, Calif. St. Univ., Fullerton, pers. commun.).
Reproducing populations are not yet known, but the potential is there. Such activities have
increased the distribution of this salamander in Arizona (Stebbins 1966, Collins 1981). The
population of salamanders at Crass Lake, Siskiyou County, may represent a native relict popula-
tion and not an introduction (Mullen and Stebbins 1978).

3. Notophthalmus viridescens (Rafinesque). eastern newt*.

3a. Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens (Rafinesque). red-spotted newt*.
3b. Notophthalmus viridescens lousianensis (Wotterstorff). central newt *.

Adults of these subspecies are .commonly sold in pet stores and the larvae have been sold as
fish bait in several localities. Many have escaped or have been intentionally released into the wild,
but there are no known naturally reproducing populations in the State.

Order Anura — Toads and Frogs.
Family BUFONIDAE— True Toads.

4. Bufo marinus (Linnaeus), giant toad *.

One specimen of this toad was found living in the wild in Ventura County (J. St. Amant, pers.
commun.). Intensive searches in the surrounding area revealed no other specimens. The importa-
tion of B. marinus into California is prohibited (California Administrative Code 1980).

Order Crocodylia — Crocodilians.
Family CROCODYLIDAE — Alligators^ Caimans, True Crocodiles, and

False Gavials ".

5. Alligator mississippiensis (Daudin). American alligator*.

Escaped specimens which were illegally imported from the southeastern United States have
been reported in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta area. Only one authentic case of a 1.5 m
specimen of A. mississippiensis found living in the wild in the Delta is known. All other sightings
have turned out to be Caiman crocodilus (see below). Hock (1954) reported a 3 m specimen
of A. mississippiensis taken in Colorado River that was apparently dumped into the river by a
traveling carnival.

6. Caiman crocodilus (Linnaeus), spectacled caiman *.

Several subspecies of this crocodilian are widely sold in pet stores. Escaped or liberated
specimens have been found living in the wild in the Sacramento — San Joaquin Delta area and
in southern California (Bury and Luckenbach 1976). The crocodilian recently sighted in the
Feather River, Sutter County, may be a spectacled caiman (W. Dejesus, Herpetologist, Sacra-
mento City Zoo, pers. commun.). There are no known reproducing populations. At present,
because of the uncertainty to which family caimans are classified under, spectacled caimans are
considered exempt from the laws that prohibit the importation of crocodilians into California (N.

''classification of the families of the order Crocodylia remains unresolved. Conant (1975) places alligators and
caimans in a separate family — ALLICATORIDAE, while Coin et al. (1978) places them in a subfamily under
the family CROCODYLIDAE. For the purposes of this paper, the latter classification is utilized.


Dollahite, Chief, Wildlife Protection Branch, Calif. Dept. Fish and Came, pers. commun.).

Order Testudines — Turtles.

Family CHELYDRIADE— Snapping Turtles.

7. Macroclemys temmincki (Troost). alligator snapping turtle *.

Murphey (1969) recorded a specimen of this species from Sacramento County. The turtle was
apparently an escaped pet. No other specimens have been found.

Family EMYDIDAE— Box and Water Turtles.

8. Chrysemys concinna (Le Conte). river cooter * ^*.

8a. Chrysemys concinna hieroglyphica (Holbrook). hieroglyphic river cooter *.

9. Chrysemys floridana (Le Conte). cooter *.

9a. Chrysemys floridana hoyi (Agassiz). Missouri cooter *.

10. Chrysemys scripta (Schoepff). slider*.

10a. Chrysemys scripta scripta (Schoepff). yellow-bellied slider *.
10b. Chrysemys scripta callirostris (Gray), peacock slider *.
10c. Chrysemys scripta elegans (Wied). red-eared slider *.

11. Craptemys geographica (Le Sueur), map turtle *.

12. Craptemys kohni (Baur). Mississippi map turtle *.

13. Craptemys pseudogeographica (Cray), false map turtle*.

13a. Craptemys pseudogeographica ouachitensis Cagle. Quachita map turtle *.

All of the above turtles were once widely imported as young for the pet trade. Many escaped
or were intentionally released into the wild, resulting in sporadic sightings in various areas of
the State, principally the Central Valley and southern California. None have established known
reproducing populations except for Chrysemys scripta elegans (see C s. elegans in the list of
Established Exotic Species). Recently, several adult cooters and map turtles were trapped in a
pond near Long Beach, Los Angeles County (L. Swantz, pers. commun.) and adult cooters,
mainly C f. hoyi, have also been taken in San Diego County (L. Bottroff, pers. commun.). The
lack of young individuals at both of these locations, however, tends to support the view that
they are not reproducing. Two specimens of C. s. callirostris, native to South America, taken in
Lower Otay Reservoir, San Diego County, were apparently released pets (L. Bottroff, pers.
commun.). The sale of young turtles in California has been effectively curtailed by the Federal
Government (U.S. Public Health Service 1972).

14. Chrysemys picta (Schneider), painted turtle*.

14a. Chrysemys picta picta (Schneider), eastern painted turtle*.
14b. Chrysemys picta belli (Gray), western painted turtle *.
14c. Chrysemys picta dorsalis Agassiz. southern painted turtle *.
14d. Chrysemys picta marginata Agassiz. midland painted turtle *.

Chrysemys picta belli was once thought to be native to California based upon adult specimens
observed at the San Francisco Fish Markets. The turtles probably originated from Oregon or
Washington (Van Denburgh 1922). Young and adults of various subspecies of C picta reported
in recent years from the San Francisco area (Banta and Morafka 1966) and Los Angeles (Bury
and Luckenbach 1976) were escaped or intentionally released pets. Observations of a large
female C picta and several young at Kaiser Meadow, Siskiyou County, are currently under
investigation (R. Stebbins, Emeritus Professor of Zoology, Univ. of Calif., Berkeley, pers. com-

15. Malaclemys terrapin (Schoepff). diamondback terrapin *.

15a. Malaclemys terrapin terrapin (Schoepff). northern diamondback terrapin *.
15b. Malaclemys terrapin centrata (Latreille). Carolina diamondback terrapin *.

One hundred and twenty of these turtles were imported from the East Coast and planted in
San Francisco Bay in 1896 (Vogelsang and Gould 1900). Several other attempts have been made
to establish this turtle in San Francisco Bay since then (most notably Taft (1944) with 562
individuals from North Carolina), but all have been unsuccessful (Brown 1971 ). The species is
still occasionally encountered in the pet trade, probably the source of the turtles reported by
Banta and Morafka (1966) in Stow Lake, San Francisco County. Malaclemys terrapin is still

'* Chrysemys concinna has recently tjeen lumped under C. floridana (Pritchard 1967), a move not accepted by
all authorities (Ernst and Barbour 1972) . The old taxonomy is utilized in this list so as not to obscure temporal
data, a concern voiced by Holman (1977).


protected by State law in California (California Administrative Code 1980).

16. Terrapene Carolina (Linnaeus), eastern box turtle *.

16a. Terrapene Carolina Carolina (Linnaeus), eastern box turtle *.
16b. Terrapene Carolina triunguis (Agassiz). three-toed box turtle *.

17. Terrapene ornata (Agassiz). western box turtle *.

17a. Terrapene ornata ornata (Agassiz). ornate box turtle *.

17b. Terrapene ornata luteola Smith and Ramsey, desert box turtle *.

Large numbers of these turtles (mainly adults) have been imported into the State for the pet
trade. Escaped or released individuals have been encountered in the wild in Walnut Creek,
Contra Costa County (Bury and Luckenbach 1976), the Los Angeles region (Dixon 1967), San
Diego County (L. Bottroff, pers. commun.), and the Central Valley. Lip to 50 specimens yearly
were recovered from fields and residential areas of Walnut Creek (Bury and Luckenbach 1976).
In spite of the large numbers of individuals in localized areas, there are no known naturally
reproducing populations.

Family TESTUDINIDAE— True Land Tortoises.

18. Ceochelone carbonaria (Spix). red-legged tortoise *.

Six specimens of this tortoise were found during 1972 in fields and yards near Walnut Creek,
Contra Costa County (Bury and Luckenbach 1976). They were escaped or released pets.

19. Gopherus berlandieri (Agassiz). Texas tortoise*.

Literally thousands of Texas tortoises have been imported into California in recent years for
the pet trade (Brameand Peerson 1969). Escaped or intentionally released specimens have been
encountered in the wild in southern California, the Central Valley, and the Mojave Desert. The
release of C. berlandieri in desert areas threatens the genetic integrity of native C. agassizi
populations (Stebbins 1972).

Order Squamata — Lizards and Snakes.
Family GEKKONIDAE— Geckos.

20. Cehyra mutilata (Wiegmann). stump-toed gecko*.

Shaw (1946) reported a single specimen of "Peropus mutilatus"[= Cehyra mutilata] on the
San Diego Zoo grounds, San Diego County. The lizard was apparently an escapee from the San
Diego Zoo Reptile House where four species of Hawaiian geckos were regularly released by
Cyrus B. Perkins to feed the lizard-eating snakes (Shaw 1946). No further specimens have been
sighted or captured. James E. Berrian (Curatorial Assistant, Dept. of Herpetology, San Diego Nat.
Hist. Mus.) reports that there are no Cehyra in the Museums' collection and further that Dr.
James Bacon (General Curator of Herpetology, San Diego Zoo) informed him that the winters
in the area are probably too cold for the species to survive. However, the possibility of geckos
still living in buildings should not be ruled as out of the question. A careful search should be
made of likely Zoo structures to determine if any geckos are present.

Family AGAMIDAE — Agamid Lizards.

21. Agama sp. Daudin. African rock lizard*.

22. Zonurus sp. Merrem. African rock lizard*.

Members of these Old World lizard genera are sold in pet stores in the State. Specimens have
been found in the wild in the Los Angeles area (Bury and Luckenbach 1976). There are no
reproducing populations.

Family IGUANIDAE — Iguanid Lizards.

23. Anolis carolinensis (Voigt). green anole*.

23a. Anolis carolinensis carolinensis (Voigt). green anole*.

Ronald Marlow of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Univ. of Calif., Berkeley (now at the
Univ. of Chicago), reported in Bury and Luckenbach (1976) that this subspecies had established
a breeding population in Ontario, San Bernardino County. The population is apparently now
extinct (G. Stewart, pers. commun.). Individuals are still occasionally found in residential areas
of San Francisco County (Banta and Morafka 1966), and southern California (LACM 131565).
All are escaped or intentionally released pets. The species is widely sold in pet stores and at
carnivals throughout the State.

24. Ctenosaura hemilopha (Cope), spiny-tailed iguana*.

24a. Ctenosaura hemilopha macrolopha Smith. Long crested spiny-tailed iguana * ^'

" Taxonomy after Smith (1972).


Reported by Stebbins (1972) in Fullerton, Orange County. Lizards were originally brought
from Sonora, Mexico, to California State University, Fullerton, for use in an experiment. A fire
destroyed the building in which the lizards were housed and many escaped. Intensive collecting
by students and school personnel recaptured all but a few individuals. These specimens survived
through three or four winters, after which the population disappeared (B. Brattstrom, pers.

25. Iguana iguana (Linnaeus), green iguana*.

This species is imported into the United States in large numbers for the pet trade (Busack
1974). Many have escaped or have been intentionally released into the wild. Specimens have
been taken in the San Francisco area (Banta and Morafka 1966) and in southern California.
There are no known naturally reproducing populations.

26. Phrynosoma cornutum (Harlan). Texas horned lizard'.

Escaped or intentionally released pets have been reported in the wild in southern California
and in residential areas of San Francisco (Banta and Morafka 1966). No known naturally
reproducing populations. This reptile is widely sold in pet stores throughout the State.

27. Sceloporus cyanogenys Cope, blue spiny lizard'.

A single specimen of this species was collected in 1970 at the base of the Palms to Pines
Highway, Riverside County, and deposited in the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural
History (LACM 65240) (Stebbins 1972, Bury and Luckenbach 1976). The specimen was appar-
ently an escapee or released captive from a scientific project or personal collection. No other
specimens have been collected (B. Brattstrom, pers. commun.).

28. Sce/oporus jarrov/ Cope. Yarrow's spiny lizard'.

28a. Sceloporus jarrovi jarrovi Cope. Yarrow's spiny lizard'.

A group of these lizards ( many of them toe clipped ) were released on a vacant lot in Fullerton,
Orange County, about a decade ago. This population was extirpated 6 months after the release
when a shopping center was built on the site (B. Brattstrom, pers. commun.).

29. Sceloporus poinsetti Baird and Girard. crevice spiny lizard*.

29a. Sceloporus poinsetti poinsetti ?>a^\r6 and Girard. crevice spiny lizard'.

A single specimen was collected from a residential neighborhood in Northridge, Los Angeles
County, and presented to the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History during 1980
(LACM 131566). It was an escaped or intentionally released pet.

Family SCINCIDAE— Skinks.

30. Eumeces obsoletus (Baird and Girard). Great Plains skink'.

Bury and Luckenbach (1976) reported a specimen in the Los Angeles area. It apparently was
an escaped pet.

31. Tiliqua sp. Gray, blue-tongued skink*.

Reported by Myers (1951) on the outskirts of San Mateo, San Mateo County. The skinks
apparently were escaped pets.

Family CORDYLIDAE— Girdle-tailed Lizards.

32. Cordylus giganteus Smith, sungazer*.

This South African live-bearer is the largest member of the girdle-tailed lizard group. Because
of its ferocious appearance (the whole body except for the belly is covered with large heavy-
keeled scales), large size, and ability to thrive in captivity, the species is sometimes seen in pet
stores. One such lizard (apparently a released pet) was captured in Arroyo Seco Canyon,
Angeles National Forest, Los Angeles County, and brought to the Eaton Canyon Nature Center
in the late 1970's (R. Jillson, Whittier Narrows Nature Center, pers. commun.). The specimen
was taken to the Los Angeles Zoo where it was identified to species (H. Fisher, Curator of
Herpetology, L.A. Zoo, pers. commun.). All attempts to breed this specimen in captivity were
unsuccessful and it was returned to the Nature Center where it died in 1981. It has since been
preserved and is now on public display (P. Sullivan, Eaton Canyon Nature Center, pers. com-
mun.). No other specimens have been reported.

Family TEIIDAE— Teiid Lizards.

33. Tupinambis sp. (Linnaeus), tegu lizard*.

Lizards of this South American genus are widely sold in pet stores throughout the State. Their
large size and ability to thrive on chicken eggs, make them a popular pet item. Specimens have
been encountered in residential areas of southern California (Bury and Luckenbach 1976) and


San Francisco (Banta and Morafka 1966). All are escaped pets. There are no reproducing
populations in the wild.

Family HELODERMATIDAE— Venomous Lizards.

34. Heloderma horhdum (Wiegmann). Mexican beaded lizard*.

Two escaped pets were discovered in the residential areas of Walnut Creek, Contra Costa
County (Bury and Luckenbach 1976). No other specimens of this venemous lizard have been

Family VARANIDAE— Monitor Lizards.

35. Varanus exanthematicus (Daudin). savannah monitor lizard*.

Sean Barry of the Department of Zoology, Univ. of Calif., Davis, reported in Bury and
Luckenbach (1976) a specimen of this lizard found in Pasadena, Los Angeles County. It was
an escaped pet.

Family BOIIDAE— Boas and Pythons.

36. Boa canina Linnaeus, emerald tree boa*.

This South American species was occasionally observed in California warehouses in the days
before banana shipments were routinely gassed on entry into the U.S. One such specimen was
taken in Stockton and deposited in the California Academy of Sciences (CAS 8375) (Bury and
Luckenbach 1976). The species has not been seen in the State for many years.

37. Boa constrictor Linnaeus, boa constrictor*.

38. Corallus enydris (Linnaeus), tree boa*.

39. Python molurus Linnaeus. Indian python*.

1 2 4 6 7 8

Online LibraryCalifornia. Dept. of Fish and GameCalifornia fish and game (Volume 69, no. 3) → online text (page 4 of 8)