Cranial and cervical myology and osteology of the adult California newt (taricha torsa) in relation to its feeding

While anatomical studies of salamanders are not new, most have been done on a relatively few species and are mostly pure descriptive morphologies or superficial comparisons of many species. Somewhat surprisingly, the common California Newt (Taricha torosa) has not been fully nor accurately described. This study provides a detailed description of the head and neck anatomy of T.torosa. Osteological morphology is considered with particular reference to its relationship to the muscles. Muscle morphology is considered with particular reference to its probable functional importance in feeding. The study of cranial osteology indicates that the structure of the posterior portion of the skull is strongly influenced by the muscles. The muscle anatomy indicates that the cervical muscles are strongly developed, while the tongue muscles and their skeletal supports suggest only limited mobility. An analysis of the jaw muscles indicates both the external and biceptate anterior levators are very strongly developed with the anterior levator slightly more important as an adductor. The mandibular depressor is found to be very inefficient. Contrary to the kinetic inertial model (Olson 1961), considerable reserve force when the jaws are closed is indicated. Large losses in efficiency are attributed to transverse displacement of the muscles.