Cryptotriton necopinus
Cataguana Hidden Salamander, Salamandra Escondida de Cataguana
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
Species Description: McCranie JR, Rovito SM 2014 A new species of salamander (Caudata: Plethodontidae: Cryptotriton) from Quebrada Cataguana, Francisco Morazan, Honduras, with comments on the taxonomic status of Cryptotriton wakei. Zootaxa 3795: 61-70.
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None


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The description of Cryptotriton necopinus is based off of one male specimen. It is about 26.4 mm from snout to vent, and 26 mm from vent to tail. The snout of this salamander is truncated and round with enlarged nostrils. The lips are well developed but the eyes are not strongly visible. Males have a flat, oval-shaped mental gland similar in color to the surrounding areas. The shallow postorbital groove is visible from a bird’s eye view. The head is clearly separated from the trunk region. This species has 13 costal grooves. The limbs are relatively long and skinny, and the fore- and hindlimbs are separated by 2.5 costal fold intervals. The tail is laterally compressed and mildly constricted at the base region. Digits on forelimbs are free of webbing, with relative lengths of 1 < 2 = 4 < 3. The tips of the digits are clearly rounded on both the forelimbs and hindlimbs. The hindlimbs are free of webbing as well, with relative lengths of 1 < 5 < 2 < 4 < 3 (McCranie and Rovito 2014).

The inside of the nostril opening is a much paler color than the head, compared to Cryptotriton nasalis and Cryptotriton wakei. Unlike Cryptotriton sierraminensis, Cryptotriton necopinus has brown venter, not yellow, and has slightly narrower feet. The tail is also much shorter in comparison to both Cryptotriton alvarezdeltoroi and Cryptotriton veraepacis. Cryptotriton monzoni has less premaxillary and maxillary teeth and is not as large as Cryptotriton necopinus. One thing unique to Cryptotriton necopinus, are the frontal processes of premaxilla separate along their entire length (McCranie and Rovito 2014).

In life, Cryptotriton necopinus is a clay color with sepia colored flecking and mottling on the dorsum. The flecks may also be red in color. A broad stripe extends starting from the posterior insertion of forelimbs to the anterior insertions of hindlimbs. Lateral regions are also sepia in color, while the top of the head is a much darker brown color. The rim of the nostrils is also brown. On the posterior side, the limbs are gray in color with sepia mottling. The dorsal surfaces of pads and ventral surfaces of digits on both forelimbs and hindlimbs are red. The dorsal surface of the tail is a reddish-brown and the entire ventral surface of the species is a walnut brown color. After about four weeks in preservation, both the lateral and dorsolateral regions become a dark brown color with lighter brown flecking. The posterior stripe also turns dark brown, but with a darker brown flecking. The superior part of the head and nuchal turn brown, and the nuchal region gains some uneven spotting. The nostril opening is pale brown. The tail starts out brown at the tip, and gets drastically darker moving up. The ventral side of the body is a much paler brown color with dark brown flecks that are more abundant than on the dorsal side (McCranie and Rovito 2014).

Variation is yet unknown because of lack of paratypes (McCranie and Rovito 2014).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Honduras


View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.
The locality of this species lies at a moderate elevation in Parque Nacional Montana de Yoro in north-central Honduras. The habitat is characterized by cloud forest with a closed canopy. The holotype was collected 1,880 m above sea level on a bush that was about 1 m from the ground, and roughly 3 m from the Quebrada Cataguana (McCranie and Rovito 2014).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Cryptotriton necopinus was found about 3 hours after sunset and after a moderately heavy rainfall. It was crawling slowly on a leaf and began to make short jerky movements when light was flashed on it (McCranie and Rovito 2014).

The species authority is: McCranie, J.R., Rovito, S.M. 2014. New species of salamander (Caudata: Plethodontidae: Cryptotriton) from Quebrada Cataguana, Francisco Morazán, Honduras, with comments on the taxonomic status of Cryptotriton wakei. Zootaxa 3795 (1): 61-70.

It can be inferred that Cryptotriton necopinus has been isolated due to large genetic distances between itself and other taxa. It is most closely related to Cryptotriton nasalis based off the geographical distance between the two as well as molecular data (McCranie and Rovito 2014).

Cryptotriton necopinus was found 125 km southeast of where other Cryptotriton species are known to be located, and thus was named necopinus, which is latin for unexpected. It was also given this name because in 2006 and 2007, two other groups of collectors had spent about a week in the area and were not able to find a new species. However, the collectors that did discover Cryptotriton necopinus had only spent about two days looking (McCranie and Rovito 2014).

X-rays show that Cryptotriton necopinus has a prefrontal bone that appears to be pierced by the nasolacrimal duct, similar to Cryptotriton veraespacis. All Cryptotriton species, including necopinus, are missing the septomaxillary bone as well as a preorbital process on the vomer (Cryptotriton sierraminensis is an exception). A tibial spur seems to be missing as well, or is just not evident (McCranie and Rovito 2014).


McCranie, J.R, Rovito. S.M. (2014). ''New species of salamander (Caudata: Plethodontidae: Cryptotriton) from Quebrada Cataguana, Francisco Morazán, Honduras, with comments on the taxonomic status of Cryptotriton wakei.'' Zootaxa, 3795(1), 61-70.

Written by Tamar Garcia (gtamar02 AT, UC Berkeley
First submitted 2014-11-03
Edited by Ann T. Chang (2014-11-04)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2014 Cryptotriton necopinus: Cataguana Hidden Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 27, 2017.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2017. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 27 Apr 2017.

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