We describe the eggs, oviposition site, and pre-hatching development of the Olympic Torrent Salamander (Rhyacotriton olympicus) for the first time. We made field observations before oviposition and continued them until the site washed out. We also reared an egg to hatching in the laboratory to allow us to describe early development. Oviposition is similar to that of the other 3 torrent salamander species in that unattached eggs are deposited separately in the interstices of an unconsolidated coarse-clast substrate through which water flows. The number of eggs (n = 10) at this oviposition site falls within the range of variability ascribed to single clutches for other torrent salamander species (n = 5–11). However, haphazard dispersion of deposited eggs, likely typical, and sometimes communal oviposition sites, can create ambiguity in what comprises 1 clutch. Egg capsules averaged 9.5 mm ± 0.9 mm SD (range: 8.0–11.0 mm); their pale yellow-white ova, measured when still roughly round, averaged 4.5 mm ± 0.5 mm SD (range: 4.0–5.0 mm). Lack of attachment may constrain torrent salamander egg deposition to low-flow habitats, which appear more frequent in headwater landscapes. Colluvium, also frequent in headwater landscapes, may often provide the low-flow interstitial matrix ideal for torrent salamander oviposition.
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Vol. 99 • No. 3