Habitat Relationships of Amphibians and Reptiles in California Oak Woodlands Academic Article uri icon


  • We used pitfall traps and time-constrained searches to sample amphibians and reptiles and to describe their habitats in oak woodlands at three areas in California. We captured 766 individuals representing 15 species during pitfall trapping and 333 animals representing 15 species during the time-constrained searches. A total of 19 species were sampled. Across all study areas, several positive relationships were found between animal abundance and the cover of specific tree species. At Tejon Ranch, two salamanders - Batrachoseps nigriventris and Ensatina eschscholtzii croceater - were associated with canyon live oak (Quercus chrysolepis) and two lizards - Sceloporus occidentalis and Eumeces gilberti - were associated with California black oak (Q. kelloggii). At San Joaquin, B. nigriventris was associated with foothill pine (Pinus sabiniana), as was B. attenuatus at Sierra Foothill. Generally, salamanders were found in live oak woodlands on north-facing slopes at Tejon Ranch, or on north-facing woodlands dominated by foothill pine and interior live oak (Q. wislizenii) at Sierra Foothill and San Joaquin. In contrast, lizards used more xeric and open habitats dominated by California black oak, blue oak (Q. douglasii), and valley oak (Q. lobata). As would be expected for terrestrial and fossorial animals, litter depth, the development of grasses and forbs, and cover by downed woody debris and rocks were important in the habitat models. At Sierra Foothill and San Joaquin, these latter variables, in addition to slope, were of primary importance in the habitat models.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Herpetology

author list (cited authors)

  • Block, W. M., & Morrison, M. L.

citation count

  • 26

complete list of authors

  • Block, William M||Morrison, Michael L

publication date

  • March 1998