We thought Town Crier readers may be interested in an apparent identification error in the latest edition of the paper (Vol. 70, No. 16).
The salamanders in the photo on page 19 are not Tiger Salamanders as captioned, but are actually Large-blotched Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii klauberi), another species of salamander in a different genus from the Tiger Salamanders.
In addition to some differences in appearance and habitat, the California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense) does not occur in Southern California, reaching only as close to here as Santa Barbara County.
The non-native Western Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma mavortium) is another possibility, which has unfortunately been introduced to some areas of California, including nearby San Diego County, but also differs from the Ensatina in shape, pattern and habitat.
It is understandable that any salamander who looks like those in the photo may be assumed to be a Tiger Salamander. The Large-blotched Ensatina is actually much rarer than the Tiger Salamander and is very special to our area, occurring only from San Gorgonio south through our mountains into eastern San Diego County. So it was an even better observation than it seemed.
There is excellent information about all of these salamanders, with great photos and distribution maps, at
Anne and Jon King
Editor’s note: We are humbled and regret the error, but thoroughly enjoyed these two letters of correction.