AmphibiaWeb - Bolitoglossa kamuk


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Bolitoglossa kamuk Boza-Oviedo, Rovito, Chaves, García-Rodríguez, Artavia, Bolaños & Wake, 2012
Kamuk Web-footed Salamander
Subgenus: Eladinea
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Bolitoglossa
Species Description: Boza-Oviedo E, Rovito SM, Chaves G, Garcia-Rodriguez A, Artavia LG, Bolanos F, Wake DB 2012. Salamanders from the eastern Cordillera de Talamanca, Costa Rica, with descriptions of five new species (Plethodontidae: Bolitoglossa, Nototriton, and Oedipina) and natural history notes from recent expeditions. Zootaxa 3309: 36- 61.
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Vulnerable (VU)
National Status None
Regional Status None
conservation needs Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .


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The Bolitoglossa kamuk description is based off of three young salamanders, two adult males and a juvenile. No females were identified in this expedition. Individuals have a slender tail approximately the same length as standard length. The standard lengths of the adults are 33.0 and 34.8 mm, tail lengths are 32.4 and 35.2 mm, snout to gular fold distances are 7.9 and 8.5 mm, axilla-groin distances are 19 mm, head widths are 5.3 and 5.8 mm, forelimb lengths are 8 and 9 mm, foot widths are 3.6 and 3.7 mm, and hind limb lengths are 8.2 and 9.3 mm. The snouts are not obvious and are rounded or truncated. The nostrils are small and there are poorly developed nasolabial protuberances. The eyes are oriented forward and protrude slightly laterally of the head. The limbs are slender and have a moderate length. The relative lengths of the fingers in decreasing length are 3 – 4 – 2 – 1, and the relative lengths for toes are 3 – 4 – 2 – 5 – 1. There is very little webbing, which is mainly absent between the longest digits. The tips of the digits can be either stubby or pointed and have small distinct subterminal pads (Boza-Oviedo et al. 2012).

The absence of sublingual fold categorizes B. kamuk as a Bolitoglossa. Bolitoglossa kamuk can be distinguished from other members in the genus based genetics, their smaller and more slender build, and coloration. Additionally, unlike its sister species B. pesrubra, B. kamuk does not have reddish proximal limb segments or dorsal spots or blotches. Bolitoglossa kamuk can also be distinguished from another similar species, B. tica, by its smaller hands and feet (Boza-Oviedo et al. 2012).

In life, there are numerous gold flecks distributed uniformly throughout black dorsum and dorsal hind limbs and tail surface. Gold flecks are numerous up to lateral midline, and less numerous on top of head. The nasolabial protuberances are lightly pigmented. The underside of the body is dark grey with few gold specks on the sides of the body. The underside of limbs and anterior of tail is light grey with a few gold flecks and darker grey posterior tail region (Boza-Oviedo et al. 2012).

The coloration in alcohol preservative consists of heavily pigmented skin glands that causes darkened regions on the head between the snout and eyes. The orbits are completely black and canthus rostralis is covered with numerous black spots on top of dark brown surface. The cream ventral region has numerous black spots concentrated on the anterior region of the body. The dark tail leads to a completely black posterior tip. The hind limbs and forelimbs appear black due to black spots on a dark background surface. The dorsal and ventral regions of hands and feet lighter than limbs and body (Boza-Oviedo et al. 2012).

There appears to be variation in coloration based on developmental stage. The dorsal coloration in the juvenile specimen is orange dorsal with both dark and light grey specks. A darker grey patch spans the top posterior portion of the head to eyes and onto the orbits. The dorsal limbs and tail surface are bright orange, and the tail tip is a darker orange-grey. The gular region is pale yellow-orange gular region (Boza-Oviedo et al. 2012).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Costa Rica

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At the time of the species description, the species was only known at the type locality, Cerro Apri, which is southwest of Cerro Kamuk, in Costa Rica (Boza-Oviedo et al. 2012). However, one other locality was identified in 2016 at Cerro Utyum (IUCN 2020). The species can be found within arboreal bromeliads of isolated oak trees and under moss mats in terrestrial grassland habitats with spongy soil, ferns, and sub-páramo vegetation. All known individuals found at subtropical/tropical high-altitude regions of 3,126 meters above sea level (Boza-Oviedo et al. 2012).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Bolitoglossa kamuk is a rare species that can be found in terrestrial and arboreal habitats and does not associate with water bodies (Boza-Oviedo et al. 2012, IUCN 2020). The species description does not mention what time of day paratypes were caught, so it is unknown if B. kamuk are nocturnal or diurnal.

Parental care is unknown in B. kamuk, but parental care is seen in their sister taxon, B. pesrubra (Vial 1986, Boza-Oviedo et al. 2012) and other members in the genus.

Trends and Threats
The population trend is presumed to be stable, but the IUCN threat status is “Vulnerable” and the population is severely fragmented and susceptible to climate change. Other threats to the species include habitat fragmentation, invasive species, diseases, droughts, severe weather, and habitat shifting/alteration (IUCN 2020).

The species occur in one protected area: Parque Internacional La Amistad (IUCN 2020).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Climate change, increased UVB or increased sensitivity to it, etc.


Phylogeny of 16S and Cytb mtDNA data for Bolitoglossa in southeastern Costa Rica was constructed using Bayesian analysis. They found B. kamuk was most closely related to B. pesrubra. The next most closely related species was B. bramei, however this relationship is not strongly supported (Boza-Oviedo et al. 2012).

Bolitoglossa kamuk is named after the Kamuk Massif, which in turn is name after one of the dominant mountain peaks of the region they occur in: Cerro Kamuk (Boza-Oviedo et al. 2012).


Boza-Oviedo, E., Rovito, S.M., Chaves, G., Garcia-Rodriguez, A., Artavia, L.G., Bolanos, F., Wake, D.B. (2012). ''Salamanders from the eastern Cordillera de Talamanca, Costa Rica, with descriptions of five new species (Plethodontidae: Bolitoglossa, Nototriton, and Oedipina) and natural history notes from recent expeditions.'' Zootaxa, 3309, 36 - 61.

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2020. "Bolitoglossa kamuk". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T50926599A54386141. Downloaded on 19 February 2021.

Vial, J. L. (1968). ''The ecology of the tropical salamander, Bolitoglossa subpalmata, in Costa Rica.'' Revista de Biologia Tropical, 15, 13-115.

Originally submitted by: Mei Chau, Anett Danko, Larissa Landeros (2021-07-20)
Description by: Mei Chau, Anett Danko, Larissa Landeros (updated 2021-07-20)
Distribution by: Mei Chau, Anett Danko, Larissa Landeros (updated 2021-07-20)
Life history by: Mei Chau, Anett Danko, Larissa Landeros (updated 2021-07-20)
Trends and threats by: Mei Chau, Anett Danko, Larissa Landeros (updated 2021-07-20)
Comments by: Mei Chau, Anett Danko, Larissa Landeros (updated 2021-07-20)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2021-07-20)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Bolitoglossa kamuk: Kamuk Web-footed Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 18, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 18 Jul 2024.

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