AmphibiaWeb - Bolitoglossa copinhorum
Bolitoglossa copinhorum Itgen, Sessions, Wilson & Townsend, 2020

Subgenus: Magnadigita
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Bolitoglossa
Species Description: Itgen MW, Sessions SK, Wilson LD, Townsend JH 2020 (2019) Integrative systematic revision of Bolitoglossa celaque (Caudata: Plethodontidae), with a new species from the Lenca Highlands of Honduras. Herpetological Monographs 33:48-70.

© 2020 Josiah H. Townsend (1 of 8)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Endangered (EN)
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.


Bolitoglossa copinhorum is a Honduran salamander where the adult male snout-vent length range is 35.6 - 51.7 mm and females range from 35.2 - 62.2 mm. The head is longer than wide. The snout is blunt and has nasolabial protuberances that are highly developed. The canthus rostralis is quite noticeable and thin. The eyes protrude somewhat from the head and they have an undefined postorbital groove. Their oval-shaped mental gland is also recognizable. Their limbs are reasonably long. The hands are wider than the feet. The hands and feet have more webbing between the digits than most others in the subgenus, Magnadigita, which it is a member of. They also have noticeable toe pads. They have 13 costal grooves (Itgen et al. 2019).

This species has 13 costal grooves and hind feet that are wider than the length. The first caudal vertebrae is bifurcated. These qualities are shared in B. celaque, but B. copinhorum is smaller, has shorter hind limbs, and its head shape is more long and broad. Bolitoglossa celaque also has more maxillary teeth. The number of maxillary teeth in B. copinhorum can be used to differentiate it from B. cataguana. They also have a relatively narrower head, but a larger body size than B. cataguana. Bolitoglossa copinhorum have fewer maxillary teeth and are smaller than B. conanti; they also have longer hind limbs with more webbing on the feet. Bolitoglossa copinhorum has longer hind limbs and heads than B. decora; B. copinhorum females are also smaller. Female B. copinhorum have shorter heads and hind limbs with larger bodies relative to B. diaphora; males instead have a longer head and fewer vomerine and maxillary teeth than B. diaphora. Bolitoglossa diaphora also have full webbing on their feet while B. copinhorum does not. They have longer hind limbs and heads than B. dunni as well as fewer vomerine and maxillary teeth. Bolitoglossa copinhorum have fewer maxillary teeth, a more narrow head, and smaller hind limbs than B. heiroreias. They differ from B. longissima by having a smaller-sized hind limbs and body. Their heads are more broad, and in males also shorter. Bolitoglossa copinhorum has a broader head than B. oresbia, and in females the head is also shorter. Additionally they have a greater number of maxillary teeth and the hind limbs that are longer than B. oresbia. Bolitoglossa pirrasorum are larger and has a longer, broader head relative to B. copinhorum. Bolitoglossa synoria have less webbing between the digits compared to B. copinhorum, and B. copinhorum has longer hind limbs and a more broad head shape (Itgen et al. 2019).

In life, using the Köhler (2012) reference for color descriptions, the main dorsal color of the body is Sepia (279) with speckling of Pale Buff (1), Cinnamon (255), and Robin Rufous (29). On the face there is a greater concentration of lighter flecks, a dark eye ring, and a Raw Umber (280) postorbital stripe that reaches the gular fold. A Light Neutral Gray (297) stripe runs lateral on the body and also has the same speckling coloration. The ventral side has Sepia (279) speckles on Robin Rufous (29). The limbs are similar to the body, but the feet have a greater amount of speckling (Itgen et al. 2019).

In preservative, the middle of the dorsal side of the body is a Dark Brownish Olive (127) that radiates into Light Drab (269) that wraps around to the ventral side. The sides and the limbs have some speckling of Dark Brownish Olive (127) that is concentrated on the backside. The postorbital stripe is Light Drab (269) and Dark Brownish Olive (127). The ventral side has some Pale Cinnamon (55) with some speckling as well (Itgen et al. 2019).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Honduras


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
This species was recorded in the eastern Lenca Highlands of southwestern Honduras and found at elevations of 1910 to 2310 meters within broadleaf and mixed montane cloud forests. These forests lie within the mountain ranges of Sierra de Puca-Opalaca and Montaña de la Sierra in the Southern Cordillera of Chortís Highlands. Several populations are found within seven sites in the departments of Intibucá and La Paz (Itgen et al. 2019).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Bolitoglossa copinhorum can typically be found 2 to 8 meters above the ground, residing in mosses growing on the trunks of trees, or other plants, and bromeliads (almost entirely in Tillandsia) (Itgen et al. 2019). Specimens previously identified as B. celaque, but now considered B. copinhorum, were also found mostly on Tillandsia, which are arboreal bromeliads (McCranie and Wilson 1993).

Bolitoglossa copinhorum undergoes direct development in the offspring (IUCN 2020).

Bolitoglossa copinhorum has some paedomorphic traits of its sister taxa B. celaque (Itgen et al. 2019).

Trends and Threats
There are a variety of human-related stresses on the environment that affect B. copinhorum, including land use for agriculture, aquaculture, logging, use of fires and fire suppression, and climate change and weather related stresses that can modify habitat or cause the species to relocate. There are also potential future stresses at the species level from the introduction of invasive species or diseases (IUCN 2020).

Bolitoglossa copinhorum is at risk of decline from habitat loss in both unprotected and protected areas. When compared to its sister taxon, B. celaque, B. copinhorum is less affected by disturbances that may occur in its habitat. But B. copinhorum is still susceptible to fragmentation of the forest canopy since it heavily relies on the presence of bromeliads. Disturbances are caused primarily by human disturbances, including logging, subsistence farmers, and commonly occurring forest fires (IUCN 2020).

Climate change is also a major threat as tropical montane cloud forest habitat, where this species is found, is more susceptible to the effects of climate change than the other habitats. Specifically, it may affect the microclimate that B. copinhorum thrive best in and there may be spatial constraints to how far upslope B. copinhorum could migrate. Furthermore, this species may not be able to adapt to the speed at which climate change is occurring (Foden et al. 2013, Wicaksono et al. 2017, Lyra et al. 2017, Neate-Clegg et al. 2018).

Though not a current concern, the potential introduction of the salamander chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, is a looming concern for this species as it has already decimated a large portion of European salamander species (Feldmeier et al. 2016).

Further research is required to determine approximations for population sizes and the ranges of this species. Recent notable conservation efforts include biological reserves and refuges, including areas such as Reserva Biológica Cordillera de Opalaca, Refugio de Vida Silvestre Mixcure, and Reserva Biológica Guajiquiro (IUCN 2020).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Habitat fragmentation
Climate change, increased UVB or increased sensitivity to it, etc.


Bolitoglossa copinhorum is in the subgenus Magnadigita of neotropical salamanders in the B. dunni species group. Based on Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic methods on 16S, COI, and cyt B mtDNA, B. copinhorum is sister to B. celaque. The next most closely related species is B. synoria, then B. heiroreias. All these species share a similar southwestern range within Chortís Block (Itgen et al. 2019).

The species epithet, “copinhorum”, was given to honor the “Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras” (COPINH), which was founded in March of 1993. This organization contains representatives of over 200 Lenca communities found in western Honduras and protests against economic policies related to free-market capitalism while promoting support for protection of the Lenca communities and their land from activities such as logging, mining, and hydroelectricity. It was specifically given to honor and remember the leader/cofounder of COPINH, Berta Cáceres, as well as activist and organizer, Nelson García, who were both murdered for their involvement in movements against hydroelectric projects at the Río Gualcarque and Río Chiquito rivers (Itgen et al. 2019).


Feldmeier, S., Schefczyk, L., Wagner, N., Heinemann, G., Veith, M., Lötters, S., Gratwicke, B. (2016). “Exploring the distribution of the spreading lethal salamander chytrid fungus in its invasive range in Europe - a macroecological approach.” PloS one, 11(10), e0165682. [link]

Foden, W.B., Butchart, S.H.M., Stuart, S.N., Vié, J.-C., Akçakaya, H.R., Angulo, A., DeVantier, L.M., Gutsche, A., Turak, E., Cao, L., Donner, S.D., Katariya, V., Bernard, R., Holland, R.A., Hughes, A.F., O'Hanlon, S.E., Garnett, S.T., Şekercioğlu, Ç.H. and Mace, G.M. (2013). "Identifying the world's most climate change vulnerable species: A systematic trait-based assessment of all birds, amphibians and corals." PLoS ONE 8(6): e65427. [link]

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2020. "Bolitoglossa copinhorum." The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T170327533A170349369. 3.RLTS.T170327533A170349369.en (Downloaded: 25 February 2022)

Itgen, M. W., Sessions, S. K., Wilson, L. D., and Townsend, J. H. (2019). “Integrative systematic revision of Bolitoglossa celaque (Caudata: Plethodontidae), with a new species from the Lenca Highlands of Honduras.” Herpetological Monographs, 33, 48–70. [link]

Köhler, G. (2012). Color Catalogue for Field Biologists. Herpeton, Offenbach, Germany.

Lyra, A., Imbach, P., Rodriguez, D., Chou, S.C., Georgiou, S., Garofolo, L. (2017). "Projections of climate change impacts on central America tropical rainforest." Climatic Change 141(1), 93-105. [link]

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.

Neate‐Clegg, M.H., Jones, S.E., Burdekin, O., Jocque, M., Şekercioğlu, Ç.H. (2018). "Elevational changes in the avian community of a Mesoamerican cloud forest park." Biotropica 50(5), 805-815. [link]

Wicaksono, C.Y., Aguirre‐Guiterrez, J., Nouhra, E., Pastor, N., Raes, N., Pacheco, S., Geml, J. (2017). "Contracting montane cloud forests: a case study of the Andean alder (Alnus acuminata) and associated fungi in the Yungas." Biotropica 49(2): 141-152. [link]

Originally submitted by: Kevin Chin, Carrie Egan, Hannah St. John (2022-05-18)
Description by: Kevin Chin, Carrie Egan, Hannah St. John (updated 2022-05-18)
Distribution by: Kevin Chin, Carrie Egan, Hannah St. John (updated 2022-05-18)
Life history by: Kevin Chin, Carrie Egan, Hannah St. John (updated 2022-05-18)
Trends and threats by: Kevin Chin, Carrie Egan, Hannah St. John (updated 2022-05-18)
Comments by: Kevin Chin, Carrie Egan, Hannah St. John (updated 2022-05-18)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2022-05-18)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Bolitoglossa copinhorum <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Dec 8, 2022.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2022. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 8 Dec 2022.

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