Tama Salamander, Salamandra de Tama
Species Description: Acevedo AA, Wake DB, Marquez R, Silva K, Franco R, Amezquita A 2013 Two new species of salamanders, genus Bolitoglossa (Amphibia: Plethodontidae), from the eastern Colombian Andes. Zootaxa 3609: 069-084.
© 2013 Aldemar A. Acevedo (1 of 3)
Bolitoglossa tamaense is a medium-sized salamander with the snout-vent length range for males being 36.2 - 40.3 mm while the females range from 39.3 - 52.7 mm. Females are generally larger than males. Their heads are relatively wide with a mean width of 7.6 mm for females and 7.1 mm for males (Acevedo et al. 2013 Zootaxa). Females have a range of 38 - 42 maxillary teeth, and 17 - 23 vomerine teeth. Males have a range of 31 - 39 maxillary teeth and 16 - 19 vomerine teeth (Barrio-Amorós et al. 2015). The mean trunk size for females is 29.3 mm and for males is 23.5 mm. The mean distance between the shoulders for females is 6.6 mm and for males is 5.1 mm. They have long and slim tails, with a mean length of 1.1 mm for females and 1.0 mm for males. They also have long hindlimbs with a mean length of 10.1 mm for females and 9.1 mm for males. Subterminal pads are located on digits 2 - 3 - 4 and their feet are somewhat webbed (Acevedo et al. 2013 Zootaxa).
Bolitoglossa tamaense is found in sympatry with and behaves similarly to B. leandrae, but B. tamaense is larger in size and has more varied coloration than B. leandrae (Acevedo et al. 2013 Zootaxa).
Bolitoglossa tamaense is smaller than B. adspersa, B. borburata, B. capitana, B. guaramacalensis, B. hypacra, B. lozanoi, B. nicefori, B. pandi, B. ramosi, B. tatamae, and B. vallecula; and is larger than B. altamazonica, B. biseriata, B. chica, B. digitigrada, B. hiemalis, B. medemi, B. orestes, B. paraensis, B. peruviana, B. spongai, and B. walkeri. The size difference between B. tamaense and B. guaneae can only be recognized by comparing females: the former has slightly larger females. Foot morphology can also be used to distinguish these two species; B. tamaense’s feet are less webbed and have a more rounded longest digits with less pointed at tips. Lastly, B. tamaense’s tail is longer than its snout-vent length while B. guaneae’s tail is shorter than its snout-vent length (Acevedo et al. 2013 Zootaxa).
Bolitoglossa tamaense has more extensive webbed feet than B. adspersa, B. guaramacalensis, B. hypacra, B. orestes, B. spongai, B. tatamae, and B. vallecula. But B. tamaense has less webbing than B. altamazonica, B. biseriata, B. borburata, B. capitana, B. chica, B. digitigrada, B. hiemalis, B. lozanoi, B. medemi, B. nicefori, B. pandi, B. paraensis, B. peruviana, B. ramosi, and B. walkeri (Acevedo et al. 2013 Zootaxa).
Bolitoglossa tamaense lacks dermal subterminal pads on the ventral surface of the digits, which differentiates it from highland species B. adspersa, B. hiemalis, B. hypacra, B. savagei and B. vallecula (Acevedo et al. 2013 Zootaxa).
Teeth organization can also be used to distinguish B. tamaense from many other species from the genus Bolitoglossa. Bolitoglossa altamazonica, B. chica, B. hiemalis, B. leandrae, B. lozanoi, B. orestes, B. palmata, B. pandi, B. peruviana, B. sima, and B. spongai all have fewer maxillary and vomerine teeth than B. tamaense, while B. biseriata, B. borburata, B. capitana, B. guaramacalensis, B. medemi, B. nicefori, B. ramosi, B. savagei, B. silverstonei, B. tatamae, and B. vallecula have more maxillary and vomerine teeth. Bolitoglossa asdpersa, B. equatoriana and B. walkeri have fewer maxillary teeth but more vomerine teeth (Acevedo et al. 2013 Zootaxa).
In life, the body coloration of B. tamaense vary between individuals from yellow to orange and dark brown, but their ventral side is always gray with small brown spots. All examined juveniles have dark gray skin, but eight color patterns were discovered in 35 adult individuals (Acevedo et al. 2013 Zootaxa):
In preservative, the orange individuals fade into gray, but all yellow, brown, and gray individuals retain the original color (Acevedo et al. 2013 Zootaxa).
Bolitoglossa tamaense shows sexual dimorphism in terms of body size and the number of teeth. Females are generally larger than males and have more maxillary and vomerine teeth. Among the 12 specimens examined by Acevedo et al., the largest individual was a gravid female with a snout-vent length of 52.7 mm, and the smallest individual was a male with a snout-vent length of 36.2 mm. On average, males have 35 maxillary teeth and 18 vomerine teeth, and females have 40 maxillary teeth and 21 vomerine teeth (Acevedo et al. 2013 Zootaxa).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Colombia, Venezuela
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The abundance of B. tamaense is hard to estimate because of the fragmented population and the highly restricted habitats (IUCN 2021).
Only leaving their refuge after sunset, B. tamaense behaves as a nocturnal species. At night, they climb to and settle on low vegetation such as ferns and bromeliads, and spend most of the night there looking for food or mates. They are found hiding in refuge such as the bottom of rocks, litter, or roots of plants during daytime. The species appears to avoid heavy rain (Acevedo et al. 2013 FrogLog).
Bolitoglossa tamaense has a similar behavioral mode as B. leandrae in that they both move slowly and unnoticed in forests (Acevedo et al. 2013 FrogLog).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
According to the Bayesian Inference and Maximum Likelihood analyses on 510 base pair sequence of the 16S rRNA gene, B. tamaense is nested within the clade Eladinea. Bolitoglossa tamaense is sister to a subclade containing B. orestes and an undescribed species. There’s a 3% genetic distance between B. tamaense and B. orestes, which is a number large enough to identify them as separate species. Another closely related subclade includes B. nicefori and B. leandrae, with the 16S rRNA gene differing by 3% as well, between B. nicefori and B. tamaense (Acevedo et al. 2013 Zootaxa).
Bolitoglossa tamaense is the first salamander species found in the Parque Nacional Natural Tamá. Thus its name refers to where it is found (Acevedo et al. 2013).
OTHER INTERESTING INFORMATION:
It is notable that B. tamaense and B. leandrae is the first salamander species to be diagnosed with the disease Chytridiomycosis in Colombia (IUCN 2021).
Acevedo, A. A., Franco, R., Silva, K. (2013). “Amphibians of the Tamá National Park: Hidden biodiversity and new salamander species from Colombia.” FrogLog, 21(106), 53-5. [link]
Acevedo, A. A., Wake, D. B, Márquez, R., Silva, K., Franco, R., Amézquita, A. (2013). "Two New Species of Salamanders, Genus Bolitoglossa (Amphibia: Plethodontidae), from the Eastern Colombian Andes." Zootaxa, 3609(1), 69-84. [link]
Barrio-Amorós, C.L., Chacón-Ortiz, A., Rojas-Runjaic, F.J.M. (2015). “First report of the salamanders Bolitoglossa leandrae and B. tamaense (Urodela, Plethodontidae) for Venezuela.” Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 9(2): 95-99. [link]
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2021). "Bolitoglossa tamaense." The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T63062383A63062386. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-1.RLTS.T63062383A63062386.en. Accessed on 19 February 2022.
Originally submitted by: Violet Wu, Hengchen Liu, Qifan Wu (2022-05-18)
Description by: Violet Wu, Hengchen Liu, Qifan Wu (updated 2022-05-18)
Distribution by: Violet Wu, Hengchen Liu, Qifan Wu (updated 2022-05-18)
Life history by: Violet Wu, Hengchen Liu, Qifan Wu (updated 2022-05-18)
Comments by: Violet Wu, Hengchen Liu, Qifan Wu (updated 2022-05-18)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2022-05-18)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Bolitoglossa tamaense: Tama Salamander <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/7967> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Aug 15, 2022.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2022. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 15 Aug 2022.
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