AmphibiaWeb - Bolitoglossa chinanteca


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Bolitoglossa chinanteca Rovito, Parra-Olea, Lee & Wake, 2012
Chinanteca Salamander, Salamandra chinanteca
Subgenus: Nanotriton
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Bolitoglossa
Species Description: Rovito SM. Parra-Olea G, Lee D, Wake DB. 2012. A new species of Bolitoglossa (Amphibia, Caudata) from the Sierra de Juarez, Oaxaca, Mexico. ZooKeys 185: 55-71.

© 2012 Sean Michael Rovito (1 of 7)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Near Threatened (NT)
National Status None
Regional Status None
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.


This small, short-tailed salamander is characterized by fully-webbed hands and feet and by the truncated development of its digits. The mean snout-vent length (SVL) for males is 37.6 mm (range 33.4-41.2) and the mean SVL for females is 32.3 mm (range 28.4-43.4). Labial protuberances are present in both males and females (Rovito et al. 2012). Rovito et al. (2012) distinguish Bolitglossa chinanteca from other species within the Bolitoglossine subgenus Nanotriton by its more robust body and differences in the number of maxillary teeth, relative head width, foot width, and limb length.

Bolitoglossa chinanteca can be distinguished from all other genera of Central American salamanders in that it lacks a sublingual fold. Within the genus Bolitoglossa, Bolitoglossa chinanteca is distinct in terms of both its molecular and morphological features (Rovito et al. 2012). It differs from species within the subgenera Magnadigita and Oaxakia by the presence of fully webbed, pad-like feet and a generally smaller size. It is differentiated from species within the subgenera Pachymandra and Bolitoglossa also by its generally smaller size, and by its smaller hands and feet and shorter tail. Bolitoglossa chinanteca is distinct from the species within Mayamandra in that it has less broad feet. It is differentiated from the species within Eladinea by having a complex tail base where the transverse processes of the first caudal vertebrae extend forward, crossing those of the more anterior vertebra. Bolitoglossa chinanteca is distinguishable from the other three species within Nanotriton by a more robust body and relatively longer forelimbs. It is distinct from Bolitoglossa nympha by the presence of maxillary teeth, a relatively wider head, and relatively wider feet. It is distinguishable from Bolitoglossa occidentalis by having more maxillary teeth in males, a wider head in females, and relatively wider feet in females. Bolitoglossa chinanteca is distinct from Bolitoglossa rufescens in that it possesses more maxillary teeth, relatively wider feet, and a relatively wider head in females (Rovito et al. 2012).

In life, dorsal coloration is orange-brown with varying amounts of scattered dark brown to black specks. Ventral surface is pale brown with a fine cream-colored mottling and the irises are coppery. In preservation the dorsum loses its orange coloration, becoming a dark golden brown with scattered dark brown specks. The ventral surface becomes cream colored with light brown mottling that becomes more extensive posteriorly (Rovito et al. 2012). Coloration may vary by individual within this species. Dorsum can range from reddish brown to orange-brown. Venter can range from cream or yellow with brown mottling to dark brown with cream or yellowish mottling. The degree of mottling also varies (Rovito et al. 2012).

Osteology: The skull is well-formed with a small dorsal fontanelle between the frontal and parietal bones. The vomerine teeth extend in an irregular row past the center of the internal nares and a more numerous tooth patch is present near the internal nares. The base of the tail is complex relative to that of other species within the genus. The transverse processes of the first caudal vertebra project anteriorly, overlapping those of preceding vertebrae (Rovito et al. 2012).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Mexico


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

This species is known from the Sierra de Juárez of Oaxaca, Mexico. The estimated size of its range based on localities where individuals have been found is 255 km2. It occurs in forested areas at an elevation of approximately 1500 m (Rovito et al. 2012).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Rovito et al. (2012) note that individuals were found in the axils of banana plants during the day and climbing on vegetation during the night. The species is likely arboreal. The weak skeletal development of the hands and feet is associated with paedomorphosis (Alberch 1983). There is insufficient data for the life history, abundance, and behaviors of this species.

Trends and Threats

Due to the low extent of occurrence given its geographic range Bolitoglossa chinanteca would be classified as Endangered (EN) according to the IUCN Red List Criteria. However, Rovito et al. (2012) suggest that if it is found that Bolitoglossa chinanteca can persist in disturbed habitats (by colonizing other vegetation such as banana plants) it may be able to tolerate human-mediated habitat destruction. Rovito et al. (2012) suggest that Bolitoglossa chinanteca should be classified as Near Threatened (NT).


Species Authority: Rovito S.M., Parra-Olea G., Lee D., and D. Wake. 2012. A new species of Bolitoglossa (Amphibia, Caudata) from the Sierra de Juarez, Oaxaca, Mexico. ZooKeys 185: 55-71.

Phylogenetic Relationships: Based on a maximum likelihood mitochondrial gene tree, Bolitoglossa chinanteca falls within the Bolitoglossine subgenus Nanotriton. To date there are four species, including Bolitoglossa chinanteca, within Nanotriton: Bolitoglossa chinanteca is sister to Bolitoglossa occidentalis, which together form a clade that is sister to another clade containing Bolitoglossa nympha and Bolitoglossa rufescens (Rovito et al. 2012).

Etymology: This species of Central American salamander is named for the Chinanteco people of the municipalities of Santiago Comaltepec and San Pedro Yolox in the Chinantla region of Oaxaca, Mexico and after the Chinanteco language spoken by the people of Santiago Comaltepec. Most of the specimens collected came from this region (Rovito et al. 2012).


Alberch, P. (1983). ''Morphological variation in the neotropical salamander genus Bolitoglossa.'' Evolution , 37, 906-919.

Rovito, S.M., Parra-Olea, G., Lee, D., and Wake, D. (2012). ''A new species of Bolitoglossa (Amphibia, Caudata) from the Sierra de Juarez, Oaxaca, Mexico.'' ZooKeys, 185, 55-71.

Originally submitted by: Sima Bouzid (first posted 2014-02-05)
Edited by: Adolfo Ivan Gomez (2014-02-05)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2014 Bolitoglossa chinanteca: Chinanteca Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Dec 2, 2023.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 2 Dec 2023.

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