AmphibiaWeb - Bolitoglossa chucantiensis


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Bolitoglossa chucantiensis Batista, Köhler, Mebert & Vesely, 2014
Chucanti Salamander, Salamandra de Chucanti
Subgenus: Eladinea
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Bolitoglossa
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 Herpetology 1: 97-121.
Bolitoglossa chucantiensis
© 2014 Abel Batista (1 of 2)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Critically Endangered (CR)
National Status None
Regional Status None


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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

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Panama

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Bolitoglossa chucantiensis is only known from two specimens found in premontane forest of the Cerro Chucantí Private Natural Reserve located in the Majé Mountain Range, Darién Province, Panama. The two individuals were found on separate occasions, both at 1,424 m recorded elevation. Given the high number of surveys conducted in the area and only two sightings of B. chucantiensis, the species’ range is estimated to be restricted to 2 square kilometers of premontane cloud forest at the summit of Cerro Chucantí (Batista et al. 2014, Garcés et al. 2016).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Bolitoglossa chucantiensis is extremely rare and restricted in range. They can be found arboreally at the summit of Cerro Chucantí in eastern Panama; the holotype was discovered on a palm leaf (Batista et al. 2014) and the second individual was found on a bromeliad leaf (Garcés et al. 2016). Both the holotype and the second specimen were discovered at night and shortly after evening rain showers (Batista et al. 2014, Garcés et al. 2016).

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
Bolitoglossa chucantiensis is listed as “Critically Endangered” and faces threats primarily due to habitat reduction by humans. Half of their estimated range lies within the Cerro Chucantí Private Natural Reserve, but private ownership of the area and pressure to clear forest surrounding Cerro Chucantí make future stability of this area uncertain (Garcés et al. 2016). In the area immediately surrounding Chucantí Private Cloudforest Reserve, logging occurs primarily for cattle grazing and agriculture (IUCN 2020). Conservationists are currently focused on expanding this region to create a buffer for the threatened and endangered species in the reserve (Batista et al. 2004).

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
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Introduced competitors


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. 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 <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 20, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 20 Jul 2024.

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