Bolitoglossa conanti
Conant's Mushroomtongue Salamander
Subgenus: Magnadigita
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae

© 2007 Petrovan Silviu (1 of 9)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Endangered (EN)
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Bolitoglossa conanti has a standard length of approximately 38.3 - 50.5 mm in males and 41.0 - 60.7 mm in females. The head is narrow and the snout is short. There is a distinct groove below the eye that does not extend onto the lip. The labial protuberences are well developed in both sexes, but especially prominent in males. The eye does not protrude from the head when viewed from below in males. There is a shallow post-orbital groove that extends irregularly from the posterior side of the eye downward to the posterior side of the mandible, down the anterior of the throat to the gular fold. Males have oval-shaped mental glands. There are abundant vomerine teeth, and in males the enlarged premaxillary teeth pierce the lips. Females have a more robust body type than males, which are slender. The limbs are slender and moderately long. The intercostal distance between adpressed limbs is 0 - 1 costal fold in males and 0.5 - 2 in females. The discrete digits are expanded into subterminal pads. Webbing is moderate in forelimbs and hindlimbs; The third digit of the hand has 1.5 phalanges on the inside and 1.5 - 2 phalanges on the outside free of webbing. The webbing between the third and four toe leaves 1.5 - 2 phalanges free of webbing. Relative finger length is 3 > 4 > 2 > 1. Relative toe length is 3 > 4 > 2 > 5 > 1. The tail is long, slightly compressed laterally and is constricted near the base (McCranie et al. 1993).

Bolitoglossa conanti can be distinguished from its close relatives within the B. dunni group by its dorsal coloration patterns and toe webbing. Other members of the B. dunni group are mahogany red over the whole body while B. conanti is sepia with either a reddish-brown strip stretching form the snout onto the tail or gold spotting. Additionally, the subcaudal region of B. conanti is tan to dark brown and the top of the feet in B. conanti lacks any conspicuous gold spots. Bolitoglossa conanti also differs from other species by teeth, webbing of the hands and feet, head width, and relative total length. More specifically, B. conanti differs from B. cuchumatana by the former having a broad stripe and/or speckling (see above), and toe webbing that leaves 1.5 - 2 phalanges between toes 3 and 4 free while the latter has pale dorsolateral stripes on dorsum, a background color of pale orange-yellow with gray mottling on the subcaudal region, and toe webbing that frees 0.5 - 1 phalanges between toes 3 and 4. Bolitoglossa conanti differs from B. engelharti by the latter having a uniform dorsal coloration with no patterning, smaller total length averaging 39.9 mm, more maxillary teeth (49.5 in the latter species and 47 in B. conanti), and one phalange of the longest toe free of webbing. Bolitoglossa conanti differs from B. helmrichi by the latter having an orange subcaudal region and having only the distal tip free of the longest toe free of webbing. Bolitoglossa conanti differs from B. rostrata by the latter having pale dorsolateral stripes or a uniform dorsum, a uniform subcaudal region ranging in color from pale beige to dull yellow, having a larger total length (average of 53.2 mm in males and 59.3 in females), and having more than 2 phalanges free of webbing (McCranie et al. 1993).

In life, coloration is variable from sepia to amber. The species has two main color phases but may also exhibit intermediate patterning. One phase is a pale, orange-rufous to brown longitudinal band from snout tip to the dorsal tail surface. The other has dark brown dorsal surfaces with gold spotting or blotching. The subcaudal surface is spotted with gold and sometimes silver on a tan to dark brown background. Irises are also variable ranging from rufous brown to gold with brown or black patterning. Two preserved specimens had dark brown dorsal surfaces with lighter brown spots. (McCranie et al. 1993).

Coloration patterns vary between the two described phases with intermediate stages. The maxillary and vomerine tooth number is also somewhat variable. Females are more robust than males, lack mental glands, have premaxillary teeth behind the lip (rather than piercing), and have eyes that are not visible from the ventral view (McCranie et al. 1993).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Guatemala, Honduras


View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.
Bolitoglossa conanti is endemic to Honduras and Guatemala. In Honduras there are four populations found along the western range: El Chaguitón and El Portillo in Ocotepeque; Quebrada Grande in Copán; and Parque Nacional Cerro Cusuco in Cortez (Cruz et al. 2010). B. conanti is also found in eastern Guatemala, in La Unión, Department of Zacapa, and in the mountains above Zapaca. This extent of occurrence is less than 5,000 km2, lending justification for its Endangered status (Cruz et al. 2010).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Bolitoglossa conanti is found in arboreal bromeliads and in vegetation along small streams. They appear to be active at night (McCranie et al. 1993; Cruz et al. 2010). Eggs are laid in bromeliads or on the forest floor. Bolitoglossa conanti exhibits direct development (Cruz et al. 2010).

As of February 2016, the Toledo Zoo has a captive breeding program for this species and has had at least one successful hatching. The species appears to be fossorial and burrows deep during the dry season, which may be required for breeding. The females excavate a subterranean cavity, swells with water to maintain hydration in eggs, and remains with offspring a few weeks after hatching (Tim Herman, personal communication).

Trends and Threats
In Honduras, the population is in decline; the Guatemalan population seems to be stable as it is common in its known sites. The main threat to this species is habitat loss and fragmentation due to subsistence farming and forest fires. The species is also susceptible to chytrid fungus (Cruz et al. 2010).

Currently, B. conanti is protected in Honduras, in areas such as Parque Nacional Cerro Cusuco, Parque Nacional Cerro Azul, and a watershed reserve at Río Santa Ana (Cruz et al. 2010).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Habitat fragmentation

The species authority is: McCranie, J. R., and Wilson, L. D. (1993). ''A review of the Bolitoglossa dunni group (Amphibia: Caudata) from Honduras with the description of three new species.'' Herpetologica, 49, 1-15.

The species is named in honor of Roger Conant, for his contributions to the field of herpetology (McCranie et al. 1993).

Bolitoglossa conanti is a member of the Bolitoglossa dunni group (McCranie et al. 1993). It is also included in subgenus Magnadigita (Frost 2011; Wiens et al. 2007).

Bolitoglossa conanti is associated with Tillandsia sp. arboreal bormeliads and occurs sympatrically with B. dunni, B. rufescens, and Cryptotriton nasalis (McCraine et al. 1993).


Frost, D. (2011). Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 5.5.

Gustavo Cruz, Larry David Wilson, Randy McCranie, Franklin Castañeda, Carlos Vásquez, Sean Rovito, Jonathan Kolby (2010). Bolitoglossa conanti. In: IUCN 2011. 2011 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 21 Mar 2012.

McCranie, J. R., and Wilson, L. D. (1993). ''A review of the Bolitoglossa dunni group (Amphibia: Caudata) from Honduras with the description of three new species.'' Herpetologica, 49, 1-15.

Stuart, S., Hoffmann, M., Chanson, J., Cox, N., Berridge, R., Ramani, P., and Young, B. (eds) (2008). Threatened Amphibians of the World. Lynx Edicions, IUCN, and Conservation International, Barcelona, Spain; Gland, Switzerland; and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Wiens, J. J., Parra-Olea, G., García-Paris, M., and Wake, D. B. (2007). ''Phylogenetic history underlies elevational biodiversity patterns in tropical salamanders.'' Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 274, 919-928.

Written by Adriana Blair, Lucas Hammons, and Justin Haasis (adjblair AT, lahammons AT; jmhaasis AT, UC Davis
First submitted 2011-04-20
Edited by Mingna (Vicky) Zhuang, updated by Ann T. Chang (2016-03-17)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2016 Bolitoglossa conanti: Conant's Mushroomtongue Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Oct 22, 2017.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2017. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 22 Oct 2017.

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