Pseudotriton montanus Baird, 1850

Class: Amphibia > Order: Caudata > Family: Plethodontidae > Subfamily: Hemidactyliinae > Genus: Pseudotriton > Species: Pseudotriton montanus

Pseudotriton montanus Baird, 1850 "1849", J. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, Ser. 2, 1: 293. Syntypes: USNM 3839 (3 specimens) according to Dunn, 1926, Salamanders Fam. Plethodontidae: 291, and Cochran, 1961, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 220: 23 (although only two specimens noted in original description—R. Highton, personal comm.). Type locality: "South Mountain, near Carlisle, [Cumberland County,] Pennsylvania", USA. Type locality discussed and restricted to "Caledonia State Park, Franklin County", Pennsylvania, USA, by McCoy, 1992, J. Pennsylvania Acad. Sci., 66: 92–93.

Spelerpes montanaGray, 1850, Cat. Spec. Amph. Coll. Brit. Mus., Batr. Grad.: 45.

Pseudotriton montanum — Baird, 1851, in Heck (ed.), Icon. Encycl. Sci. Lit. Art, 2: 255. Incorrect subsequent spelling. 

Pseudotriton flavissimus Hallowell, 1856, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 8: 130. Holotype: ANSP 576 according to Fowler and Dunn, 1917, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 69: 19; Malnate, 1971, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 123: 347. Type locality: "with the preceeding [species from Liberty County], Georgia", USA. Synonymy by Löding, 1922, Mus. Pap. Alabama Mus. Nat. Hist., 5: 14.

Spelerpes (=P.[seudotriton]) r.[uber] montanusCope, 1869, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 21: 108.

Spelerpes (= P.[seudotriton]) r.[uber] sticticeps Baird In Cope, 1869, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 21: 108. Nomen nudum.

Spelerpes flavissimusStrauch, 1870, Mem. Acad. Imp. Sci. St. Petersbourg, Ser. 7, 16 (4): 83.

Spelerpes ruber var. montanusBoulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Grad. Batr. Apoda Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 63.

Geotriton rubra montanusGarman, 1884, Bull. Essex Inst., 16: 39.

Geotriton rubra sticticepsGarman, 1884, Bull. Essex Inst., 16: 39. Nomen nudum.

Spelerpes ruber sticticeps Baird In Cope, 1889, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 34: 178. Syntypes: USNM 11475 (2 specimens) according to Dunn, 1926, Salamanders Fam. Plethodontidae: 291, and Cochran, 1961, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 220: 26. Type locality: "South Carolina"; corrected to "Georgia: No locality" by Dunn, 1926, Salamanders Fam. Plethodontidae: 291; restricted to Rabun County, Georgia, USA by Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 48. This restriction disputed by Neill, 1957, Copeia, 1957: 141, who informally restricted the type locality to "Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia", USA. Synonymy by Dunn, 1926, Salamanders Fam. Plethodontidae: 287.

Spelerpes ruber flavissimusCope, 1889, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 34: 176.

Spelerpes montanusBrimley, 1917, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, 30: 87.

Eurycea montanaStejneger and Barbour, 1917, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept.: 19.

Pseudotriton montanus — Dunn, 1920, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, 33: 132. 

Eurycea montana flavissimaLöding, 1922, Mus. Pap. Alabama Mus. Nat. Hist., 5: 14.

Pseudotriton montanus montanusStejneger and Barbour, 1923, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 2: 14.

Pseudotriton montanus flavissimusStejneger and Barbour, 1923, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 2: 14; Neill, 1948, Copeia, 1948: 136.

Pseudotriton montanus floridanus Netting and Goin, 1942, Ann. Carnegie Mus., 29: 175. Holotype: CM 16850, by original designation. Type locality: "a seepage area along 'C' Creek, on the University of Florida campus, in Gainesville, Alachua County, Florida", USA.

Pseudotriton flavissimus flavissimusBishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 378.

Pseudotriton flavissimus floridanusBishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 381.

Pseudotriton montanus floridanusNeill, 1948, Copeia, 1948: 136.

Pseudotriton montanusSchmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 47.

Gyrinophilus montanus montanus — Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 113. See comment below (technical). 

Gyrinophilus montanus flavissimus — Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 115. See comment below (technical). 

Gyrinophilus montanus floridanus — Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 115. See comment below (technical).

English Names

Mountain Triton (Pseudotriton montanus: Yarrow, 1882, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 24: 22).

Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus: Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 47; Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 175; Collins, Huheey, Knight, and Smith, 1978, Herpetol. Circ., 7: 8; Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 34; Tilley, Highton, and Wake, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 22; Tilley, Highton, and Wake, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 31; Powell, Conant, and Collins, 2016, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. North Am., 4th ed.: 71).

Eastern Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus: Collins, 1997, Herpetol. Circ., 25: 9; Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 15).

Gulf Coast Red Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus flavissimus: Bishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 378).

Gulf Coast Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus flavissimus: Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 48; Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 175; Conant, 1975, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. Cent. N. Am., Ed. 2: 286; Collins, Huheey, Knight, and Smith, 1978, Herpetol. Circ., 7: 8; Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 34; Collins, 1997, Herpetol. Circ., 25: 9; Crother, Boundy, Campbell, de Queiroz, Frost, Highton, Iverson, Meylan, Reeder, Seidel, Sites, Taggart, Tilley, and Wake, 2001 "2000", Herpetol. Circ., 29: 29; Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 15; Tilley, Highton, and Wake, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 31; Powell, Conant, and Collins, 2016, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. North Am., 4th ed.: 71; Highton, Bonett, and Jockusch, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 33).

Florida Red Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus flavissimus: Bishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 381).

Southeastern Dotted Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus flavissimus: Carr, 1940, Univ. Florida Biol. Sci. Ser., 3: 49).

Florida Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus floridanus: Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 48).

Rusty Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus floridanus: Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 175; Conant, 1975, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. Cent. N. Am., Ed. 2: 286; Collins, Huheey, Knight, and Smith, 1978, Herpetol. Circ., 7: 9; Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 34; Collins, 1997, Herpetol. Circ., 25: 9; Crother, Boundy, Campbell, de Queiroz, Frost, Highton, Iverson, Meylan, Reeder, Seidel, Sites, Taggart, Tilley, and Wake, 2001 "2000", Herpetol. Circ., 29: 29; Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 15;  Tilley, Highton, and Wake, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 31; Powell, Conant, and Collins, 2016, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. North Am., 4th ed.: 71; Highton, Bonett, and Jockusch, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 33).

Baird's Red Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus montanus: Bishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 383).

Eastern Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus montanus: Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 48; Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 175; Conant, 1975, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. Cent. N. Am., Ed. 2: 285; Collins, Huheey, Knight, and Smith, 1978, Herpetol. Circ., 7: 9; Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 34; Collins, 1997, Herpetol. Circ., 25: 9; Crother, Boundy, Campbell, de Queiroz, Frost, Highton, Iverson, Meylan, Reeder, Seidel, Sites, Taggart, Tilley, and Wake, 2001 "2000", Herpetol. Circ., 29: 29; Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 15;  Tilley, Highton, and Wake, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 31; Powell, Conant, and Collins, 2016, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. North Am., 4th ed.: 71; Highton, Bonett, and Jockusch, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 33).

Baird's Triton (Pseudotriton montanus sticticeps [no longer recognized]: Yarrow, 1882, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 24: 22).

Distribution

East of the Appalachian divide from southern New Jersey and Maryland through eastern Virginia to southern and northwest-central Alabama and extreme eastern Louisiana; isolated populations in Mississippi and southern Pennsylvania, USA. (See comment.)

Comment

See accounts by Martof, 1975, Cat. Am. Amph. Rept., 166: 1–2, and Petranka, 1998, Salamand. U.S. Canada: 295–298 (both including Pseudotriton diastictus as a subspecies). Hunsinger, 2005, in Lannoo (ed.), Amph. Declines: 858–860, provided a detailed account (in the sense of including Pseudotriton diastictus) that summarized the biology and conservation literature. Raffaëlli, 2007, Les Urodèles du Monde: 174–175, provided brief accounts by subspecies, photographs, and map (including Pseudotriton diastictus as a subspecies, but mentioning that it surely is a distinct species). Cunningham, Smith, and Apodaca, 2009, Herpetol. Rev., 40: 360, provided a range extension to northwest-central Alabama and commented on the range. Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 113, transferred this species to Gyrinophilus from Pseudotriton, citing the Bayesian tree produced by Bonett, Steffen, Lambert, Wiens, and Chippindale, 2014 "2013", Evolution, 68: 466–482, based on cytochrome b, ND4, and RAG1, in which Pseudotriton montanus was found to be the sister taxon of Gyrinophilus (sensu stricto). Bonett et al. (2013) hesitated to make the taxonomic change because of a) weak support of this part of the topology, and b) because monophyly of Gyrinophilus was supported by the earlier work of Kozak, Mendyk, and Wiens, 2009, Evolution, 63: 1769–1784, using denser taxon and data sampling and a different analytical method (maximum-likelihood versus Bayesian). It may still turn out that Pseudotriton montanus is in an inclusive group with Gyrinophilus, but it seems that Bonett et al. (2013) were correct in their stated caution and Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 113, in their haste to claim a taxonomic remedy when caution was warranted, were not. The latter authors (p. 144) also suggested that the recognition of Pseudotriton diastictus as a distinct species was made by Collins, 1991, Herpetol. Rev., 22: 43, "with no justification", a sleight of hand statement that applies Fouquette and Dubois' (2014) out-moded reproductive species concept in place of the evolutionary species concept applied by most systematists today, including, explicitly, by Collins in 1997. Similarly Fouquette and Dubois (2014: 115) claimed that Bonett et al. (2013) "found no justification for treating it [diastictus] as a full species". Beyond making me wonder what a partial species, as opposed to full one, could possibly be in a lineage concept of species, Bonett et al. (2013) do not address the topic beyond having diastictus treated as a terminal in their tree, using the trinominal, but without decisive evidence of its placement. On the basis of their other publications and personal discussions, it is hard for me (DRF) to believe that Bonett, Wiens, and Chippindale (the three of the coauthors I know personally) subscribe to the reproductive species concept championed by Fouquette and Dubois so I suspect that the trinominal was used solely as a short-hand for geographic provenance of the terminal. But, what really needs to happen is a detailed phylogeographic study of the whole Pseudotriton montanus complex, something that has never been accomplished. Raffaëlli, 2013, Urodeles du Monde, 2nd ed. : 232–233 (who provided a brief discussion, accounts, photographs, and map), recognizes flavissimus and floridanus (traditionally considered subspecies of Pseudotriton montanus) as a distinct species, Pseudotriton flavissimus, following Bishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 377–378, who seemingly came to this arrangement without comment. However, Neill, 1948, Copeia, 1948: 134–136, found intergradation in morphology and color pattern across the contact zone of flavissimus and montanus along the Fall Line in Georgia and on this basis considered Pseudotriton flavissimus and Pseudotriton montanus to be conspecific. Of course, at least some other taxa that meet and hybridize along the Fall Line (e.g., Anaxyrus terrestris and Anaxyrus americanus) are considered different species with a hybrid, as opposed to an intergrade, zone, the difference being that the Anaxyrus americanus complex has been studied in some detail over its entire range and the Pseudotriton montanus complex has not. So, while recognizing that Bishop (1943) and Raffaelli (2013) may well be correct, I (DRF) hesitate to follow this taxonomic novelty pending some kind of overall phylogeographic study that includes substantial amounts of nuDNA. Altig and McDiarmid, 2015, Handb. Larval Amph. US and Canada: 122–123, provided an account of larval morphology and biology.

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