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Ensatina eschscholtzi eschscholtzi

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Ensatina eschscholtzi eschscholtzi The distribution of this subspecies extends from Baja California, Mexico (about 70 miles south of San Diego), northward to Atascadero, California. From there it gradually intergrades northward to about Watsonville where it abruptly changes to the Yellow Eyed Salamander, xanthoptica. At that locality, Wake considers it to be a point of incipient species formation between eschscholtzi and xanthoptica. (Wake, 1997) Eastward it's range extends from the coast to the San Gabriel, San Gorgonio and Palomar Mountains. (Stebbins, 1949)

In the San Gorgonio Mountains and Palomar Mountains, populations of eschscholtzi meet with populations of the blotched type, klauberi and the klauberi-croceater intergrades. Interbreeding between the unblotched eschscholtzi and the blotched forms is limited to very narrow zones of hybridization. In the Palomar Mountains, only about 3% of the salamanders show evidence of hybridization. (Brown, 1974) In the Cuyamaca Mountains east of San Diego, there is no evidence of any hybridization. (Wake, Yanev and Brown, 1986) Electrophoritic separation of enzymes seem to indicate that there has been no interbreeding between the blotched and unblotched populations in the Cuyamaca area for about 2 million years.

 

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