Definitions for pacific giant salamander
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Pacific giant salamander, Dicamptodon ensatus(noun)
large (to 7 inches) salamander of western North America
Pacific giant salamander
Pacific giant salamanders are a family of large salamanders. The family includes only a single genus, Dicamptodon. The genus was formerly thought to contain two species, Cope's giant salamander on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington, and the Pacific giant salamander which consisted of three geographic populations, an Idaho isolate, a group in northern California, and a group in Oregon and Washington. In 1989, genetic studies showed D. copei to be a distinct subspecies, and the D. ensatus populations to consist of three subspecies: the Idaho giant salamander in Idaho, and two highly divergent species with a narrow hybrid zone in California, the coastal giant salamander, and the California giant salamander. Specimens are up to 30 cm long, and are found in the western USA and south western British Columbia. Except for their size, they are similar to the mole salamander family, in which they were originally included. While most salamanders are silent, the Pacific giant salamander is one of several salamanders that have vocal abilities. When startled, these salamanders may respond with a croaky-sounding cry similar to that of a barking dog. Members of this family can either be terrestrial or aquatic as adults.
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