Populations of robust salamanders belonging to the plethodontid salamander genus Batrachoseps (subgenus Plethopsis) from the southern Sierra Nevada and adjacent regions represent a previously unknown species here described as Batrachoseps robustus. The new species is robust, with a short trunk (17–18 trunk vertebrae) and well-developed limbs. It differs from its close geographic neighbor, Batrachoseps campi, in lacking patches of dorsal silvery iridophores and in having (typically) a lightly pigmented dorsal stripe, and from Batrachoseps wrighti in being more robust, having more trunk vertebrae, and in lacking conspicuous white spots ventrally. This species is widely distributed on the semiarid Kern Plateau of the southeastern Sierra Nevada and extends along the east slopes of the mountains into the lower Owens Valley; it also is found to the south in the isolated Scodie Mountains. It occurs at high elevations, from 1615–2800 m, in areas of low rainfall and high summer temperatures.
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Vol. 2002 • No. 4