Chucanti Salamander; Salamandra de Chucanti
Species Description: Batista A, Koehler G, Mebert K, Vesely M 2014 A new species of Bolitoglossa (Amphibia: Plethodontidae) from eastern Panama, with comments on other members of the adspersa species group from eastern Panama. Mesoamerican Herpetol 1: 97-121.
© 2014 Abel Batista (1 of 2)
DESCRIPTION:Bolitoglossa chucantiensis is a rare salamander only known from one locality in Panama. There are only two known specimens (as of 2021), which have snout-vent lengths of 47and 52 mm and total lengths of 55 and 59 mm (Garcés et al. 2016). The head is wide when compared to the neck, and the snout ends bluntly when viewed from the top. The small nostrils can be found near the front of the snout. When looking at the dorsal side of B. chucantiensis, the eyes protrude from the outline of the head. An important diagnostic feature for this species is the number of maxillary teeth, it has a higher number than that of the B. adspersa group. There is a slight indentation between the fingertips and the toes. The toes are completely webbed. Subterminal pads can be seen on fingers 2 and 3 and toes 2 thru 4. The tail length exceeds the snout-vent length (Batista et al. 2014).
Bolitoglossa chucantiensis may be confused for B. taylori since they have similar proportions. A couple of distinguishing characteristics between the two species are the morphology of the hands/feet and the coloration. Bolitoglossa taylori has incomplete webbing while B.chucantiensis has fully webbed feet. The patterning on B. taylori is in patches while on B. chucantiensis it is streaks of yellow. When compared to B. guaneae, B. chucantiensis has a greater snout-vent length, 31.53 – 41.56 mm compared to 47 – 52 mm, respectively. The coloration can also help tell these two apart. Bolitoglossa chucantiensis is dark brown on the dorsal side and has yellow streaking, which is absent in B. guaneae. Bolitoglossa chucantiensis might also be confused with B. cuna, but the elevation helps distinguish between these two. Bolitoglossa cuna is found in the lowlands while B. chucantiensis is considered a highland species (Batista et al. 2014).
When alive, the coloration of B. chucantiensis can be described as a dark crimson to a maroon with speckling or streaks of yellow. The eye region is a bright yellow color, including the iris. The throat area is a mustard yellow color. In preservative the species becomes a very mottled brown to gray color (Batista et al. 2014).
As of 2021, there has only been two individuals of this species found. The coloration of the two are similar but variations exist in the patterning as well as the number of maxillary teeth (Garcés et al. 2016).
Distribution and Habitat
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Very little is known about reproduction, but B. chucantiensis likely exhibits direct development like other species in the genus Bolitoglossa (Lombard and Wake 1977).
Trends and Threats
Lastly, should salamander chytrid fungus spread Central America, where it is currently undocumented, B. chucantiensis and all salamander species are likely to face crippling decline (IUCN 2020).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Maximum likelihood analysis of 16S mtDNA and morphology of Bolitoglossa occurring in eastern Panama show that B. chucantiensis is a member of the B. adspersa group of the subgenus Eladinea. Within the B. adspersa group, B. chucantiensis is sister to an undescribed Bolitogloassa species and together they are sister to the clade containing all other B. adspersa complex members (Batista et al. 2014).
Bolitoglossa chucantiensis derives its genus name from the Latin “bolito” meaning unusual and “glossa” meaning tongue (Batista et al. 2014). The species epithet, “chucantiensis” is derived from Cerro Chucantí, the highest point in the Cordillera de Majé in eastern Panama, with the suffix “-ensis” indicating a relation to a geographical location. Cerro Chucantí has an elevation of 1,439 m and is part of a protected area, the Chucantí Private Cloud Forest Preserve (Batista et al. 2014).
Batista, A., Köhler, G., Merbert, K., Vesely, M. (2014). “A new species of Bolitoglossa (Amphibia: Plethodontidae) from eastern Panama, with comments on other species of the adspersa species group from eastern Panama.” Mesoamerican Herpetology 1(1), 97–121. [link]
Garcés, O., Miranda, M., Fuentes, R., Batista, A. (2016). “Second individual of a recently discovered species of salamander, Bolitoglossa chucantiensis (Caudata: Plethodontidae), from eastern Panama”. Mesoamerican Herpetology 3(4), 1082-1084. [link]
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2020). "Bolitoglossa chucantiensis". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T77345748A87854884. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T77345748A87854884.en. Downloaded on 17 February 2021.
Lombard, R.E., Wake, D.B. (1977). “Tongue evolution in the lungless salamanders, family Plethodontidae.II. Function and evolutionary diversity” J. Morphol. 153(1), 39-79. [link]
Originally submitted by: Laura Navarro Ron, Rayven Hernandez, Riley Stray (2021-07-15)
Description by: Laura Navarro Ron, Rayven Hernandez, Riley Stray (updated 2021-07-15)
Distribution by: Laura Navarro Ron, Rayven Hernandez, Riley Stray (updated 2021-07-15)
Life history by: Laura Navarro Ron, Rayven Hernandez, Riley Stray (updated 2021-07-15)
Trends and threats by: Laura Navarro Ron, Rayven Hernandez, Riley Stray (updated 2021-07-15)
Comments by: Laura Navarro Ron, Rayven Hernandez, Riley Stray (updated 2021-07-15)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2021-07-15)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Bolitoglossa chucantiensis: Chucanti Salamander; Salamandra de Chucanti <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/8237> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Sep 19, 2021.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2021. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 19 Sep 2021.
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