SIERRA NEWT (TARICHA SIERRAE) BREEDING IN AN INTERMITTENT CENTRAL CALIFORNIA STREAM: RESULTS OF A CONTINUING LONG-TERM STUDY
|Julie A Vance; California Department of Fish and Wildlife; Julie.Vance@wildlife.ca.gov;
Very few studies have been conducted on the Sierra newt (Taricha sierrae), a species that is distributed throughout the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. During late winter and early spring, the Sierra newt congregates in intermittent streams to breed. During the 1998-1999 breeding seasons, T. sierrae instream movement and distribution were studied in a segment of the south fork of Little Dry Creek, located on the McKenzie Preserve in eastern Fresno County. In this study, T. sierrae individuals exhibited high site fidelity within stream subareas, but there were several individuals that moved extensive distances, particularly after storm events. In 2004-2010 and within this same population and stream segment, a total of 634 newts were marked with PIT tags. Starting in 2004, this stream segment was surveyed weekly or biweekly for 18 breeding seasons, through 2021/2022. Numbers of breeding individuals detected in the study stream segment have varied significantly from year to year depending on timing of precipitation and stream conditions. Individuals marked with PIT tags continue to be detected, particularly during years with good breeding conditions, indicating that this is a long-lived species which may skip breeding in less optimum years.