AmphibiaWeb - Bolitoglossa mombachoensis


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Bolitoglossa mombachoensis Köhler & McCranie, 1999
Salamandra de Mombacho
Subgenus: Bolitoglossa
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Bolitoglossa
Bolitoglossa mombachoensis
© 2012 Brian Freiermuth (1 of 26)
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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Snout-vent length is 46.0 – 57.5 mm in males and 51.5 – 66.0 mm in females. Females are slightly larger and more robust whereas the males are generally more slender. The head is moderately broad, with a snout that is truncated in dorsal view and broadly rounded in profile. Males have well-developed labial protuberances but females have weakly developed ones. There is no mental gland cluster. In both sexes, the eyes protrude slightly and are just barely visible beyond the jaw when viewed from below. The postorbital groove can be distinct, obscure, shallow, or incomplete. The gular fold is distinct and extends dorsolaterally to approximately the level of the eye. There is sometimes a short, indistinct, vertical groove present at the posterior end of the jaw. There is no sublingual fold. Maxillary teeth number between 33-40 in males, and 34-47 in females. Vomerine teeth number between 15-26 in males, and 14-25 in females. Vomerine teeth are present in a single long or irregular arched series extending slightly beyond the outer border of the choanae. Premaxillary teeth number between 4-5 in males and 1-4 in females. These are enlarged and pierce the lip in males. In females, premaxillary teetg are not enlarged and are located posterior to the lip and anterior to the line of maxillary teeth. The anterior cross-section of the tail is nearly rectangular but the posterior third of the tail is oval in cross-section. The tail is slightly constricted at the base. The tail length is 94.3 – 97.4% (mean of 96.0%) of the snout-vent length in males and 74.2 – 98.1% (mean of 90.9%) in females. Limbs are slender and moderately long; the adpressed limb interval is about 2.5 – 3 costal folds in males and 3 – 3.5 costal folds in females. There is extensive webbing on the feet and digits protrude from the webbing. Digits are acutely rounded or pointed. There are no subdigital pads. The digit lengths on forelimbs are III>II>IV>I and on the hindlimbs are III>IV>II>V>I. Males have cloacal papillae whereas females have cloacal folds (Köhler and McCranie 1999).

In life, there is some color variation between individuals. One female was recorded as having cinnamon brown dorsal surfaces of the head and body with indistinct dark brown (Vandyke brown) mottling and longitudinal lines. The dorsal surfaces of the limbs were Vandyke brown and the dorsal surface of the tail was a dull cinnamon (sayal brown) with Vandyke brown mottling. Lateral surfaces had an incomplete tawny olive longitudinal stripe, bordered below by Vandyke brown. The ventral surfaces were brown with fine pale longitudinal lines. The iris was ferruginous.

Another individual (also female) was recorded as having fawn-colored dorsal surfaces of the head and body shading into olive brown laterally. The lateral longitudinal band was clay-colored and bordered below by dark olive brown (Prout's brown). The dorsal surfaces of the limbs were Prout's brown and the dorsal surface of the tail was fawn-colored. The iris was cinnamon.

The color of specimens in preservative is described as brown to dark brown, often streaked with a paler brown. Some individuals have a suggestion of a longitudinal stripe shown by a paler mid-dorsal region. In most specimens, the pale brown dorsolateral stripe extends from behind the upper eyelid to the hind limb insertion. The stripe may be faint, irregular, or incomplete. The dorsal tail color is pale to dark brown and as with the body, some individuals have a tail with a paler mid-dorsal region that suggests a longitudinal stripe. The lateral tail color is brown to dark brown and often streaked with an even paler brown. The dorsal limb surface color is brown to dark brown and has no distinctive markings. The ventral surface of the head and the body are dotted heavily with spots of dark brown. The pattern sometimes is absent to form pale streaks which vary from long and numerous to few and short (Köhler and McCranie 1999).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Nicaragua

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Known only from Volcán Mombacho, Departamento de Granada, Nicaragua at elevations of 950-1250 m asl, although it may possibly be present on other southwestern Nicaraguan volcanoes. This species has been found only on the volcano's plateau. It lives in cloud forest, elfin forest, and also can live in introduced tall grasses. It is somewhat tolerant to habitat degradation (Köhler and McCranie 1999).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
It is an arboreal species and is not dependent on water, since it breeds by direct development. At night, many salamanders can be observed climbing on vegetation 50-150 cm above the ground. Some had regenerated tails and some had almost no tail. Salamanders were found in tank bromeliads 150-200 cm above the ground during the dry season in February of 1998. No salamanders were found in bromeliads at daytime during the rainy season (July) of the same year. However, they were abundant at night on the vegetation.

Vences and Schmitt (1991, as B. striatula) found several clutches of eggs in August in leaf litter, but females were not found in close proximity. Two clutches contained 16–22 eggs and one clutch started to hatch a week after collection. The other, however, did not start to hatch until early December (Köhler and McCranie 1999).

Trends and Threats
This species is abundant on the Volcán Mombacho plateau. It is somewhat tolerant to habitat degradation and is found in a protected reserve. However, its habitat consists of a remnant of cloud forest and thus its range is very restricted (Stuart et al. 2008).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities

The specific epithet mombachoensis refers to the volcano where these salamanders are found (Köhler and McCranie 1999).


Köhler, G., McCranie, J. R. (1999). ''A new species of salamander from Volcán Mombacho, Nicaragua, formerly referred to Bolitoglossa striatula.'' Senckenbergiana biologica, 79(1), 89-93.

Noble, G. K. (1918). ''The amphibians collected by the American Museum Expedition to Nicaragua in 1916.'' Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, New York, 38, 311-347.

Stuart, S., Hoffmann, M., Chanson, J., Cox, N., Berridge, R., Ramani, P., Young, B. (eds) (2008). Threatened Amphibians of the World. Lynx Edicions, IUCN, and Conservation International, Barcelona, Spain; Gland, Switzerland; and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Vences, M., and Schmitt, R. (1991). ''Herpetologische Beobachtungen in Nicaragua. Die Amphibien.'' Herpetofauna (Weinstadt), 13 (Supplement 75), 21-26.

Originally submitted by: Mae Huo (first posted 2009-09-28)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2009-10-12)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2009 Bolitoglossa mombachoensis: Salamandra de Mombacho <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 13, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 13 Jun 2024.

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