California Red-Legged Frog (Rana aurora draytoni)
Status: Federally Threatened
The California red-legged frog has been extirpated
from over 70 percent of its former range. It is threatened by a wide
variety of impacts including the destruction, degradation and fragmentation
of habitat; introduction of non-native predators, such as bullfrogs,
crayfish and certain species of fish; and even historical over-exploitation
of the species by humans. For more information about amphibians and
efforts to halt their decline visit www.frogweb.gov.
The California red-legged frog is the largest native frog in the western
United States, ranging in size from 1.5 to 5 inches from snout to
urostyle (not including their legs). The belly and hind legs of adult
frogs are usually a salmon pink and the back is brown, gray, olive
or reddish brown with dark blotches and small black flecks.
They may be found in a variety of habitats but breed in aquatic habitats
such as marshes, ponds or streams (see CRLF
Occurrence). Riparian habitat is frequently used for resting and
feeding and provides protective cover from predation and desiccation.
They mostly feed at night and primarily eat invertebrates.
Western Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus)
Status: Federally Threatened
There is a variety of factors impacting the
drastic decline of this subspecies of snowy plover. A loss of nesting
habitat, resulting primarily from the spread of European beachgrass,
is an important factor. Other contributing impacts include expanding
human population, predation by exotic species, poor reproductive success
resulting from human disturbance and inclement weather.
The snowy plover is a small, compact bird averaging about 6 inches in
length. Its back is a pale tan-gray color and its breast and belly
are white. They have a partial breast band, an ear patch and a forehead
patch. All of these patches are generally black in color. It also
has a dark bill and dark legs.
The snowy plover is known to breed in the beach and foredune habitat
of the Nipomo-Guadalupe Dune complex (see Listed
Bird Species Occurrence). Its nest and eggs are extremely cryptic. This camouflage helps protect them from predation, but also makes them susceptible
to being accidently crushed by humans. The breeding season of the
coastal population of western snowy plovers extends from mid-March
Tidewater Goby (Eucyclogobius newberryi)
Status: Federally Endangered
Tidewater gobies have been elimated from
over 50 percent of their coastal habitat. Habitat and population has been impacted
by coastal development, decrease in water quality
and introduction of exotic species which prey upon the goby. This
species status is currently under review for delisting by the USFWS.
The tidewater goby is a small (approximately 2 inches long), bottom-dwelling,
carnivorous fish. Its lower fins are fused together to form a cone-shaped
suction cup that allows it to grip rocks, plants and other surfaces,
thus saving itself from being washed out to sea.
Gobies are adapted to living in the brackish waters of coastal lagoons,
marshes, creeks and estuaries. Unique among fishes of the Pacific
coast, gobies are restricted to waters of low salinity in coastal wetlands.
They feed along the bottom, preferring clean, shallow, slow-moving
Legless Lizard (Anniella pulchra pulchra)
Status: California Special Concern
The California Department of Fish and
Game has designated silvery legless lizards as a "Species of
Special Concern" because a highly fragmented distribution and
widespread threats have made them vulnerable to localized extinctions.
The Silvery Legless Lizard is a limbless lizard approximately 4 to
7 inches long. The polished looking skin is silvery gray or beige
with a yellow belly. It is distinguished from snakes by being smaller
and having eyelids and ears. It prefers to burrow in sandy or loose
loamy soils where it feeds on small insects.
The range of the silvery legless lizard extends from San Francisco to Baja California,
Mexico along coastal mountains and foothills. The Central Coast dunes
provide favorable habitat, especially in stabilized dune areas where
native coastal shrubs occur, such as bush lupine (Lupinus arboreus)
and mock heather (Ericameria ericoides).