AmphibiaWeb - Bolitoglossa nussbaumi


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Bolitoglossa nussbaumi Campbell, Smith, Streicher, Acevedo & Brodie, 2010

Subgenus: Magnadigita
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Bolitoglossa
Species Description: Campbell JA, Smith EN, Streicher J, Acevedo ME, Brodie Jr ED 2010 New salamanders (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from Guatemala, with miscellaneous notes on known species. Misc Publ Mus Zoology Univ Mich 200: 1-66.
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Critically Endangered (CR)
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Bolitoglossa nussbaumi is a moderately sized salamander that was described from two female adults and two juveniles. The species has a standard length of about 50 mm. The head length is longer than the head width. The length of the eye is slightly larger than the distance between the eye and nose and slightly more than half the interocular distance. When the limbs are adpressed towards each other along the body, 2.0 - 2.5 costal folds separate them. The hand width is smaller than the foot width. The toes are blunt with broad toe tips and display well-developed subterminal pads. Webbing in between most toes extends to the base of the terminal segment, however only the first toe is fully webbed. The tail is shorter than the standard length (Campbell et al. 2010).

Originally mistaken for Bolitoglossa rostrata, B. nussbaumi is smaller, more slender, and has shorter limbs. In comparison to B. cuchumatana, B. nussbaumi does not have fully webbed feet and has larger feet and hands. It has less webbing on the feet and a shorter tail than B. engelhardti and all members of B. helmrichi group. Bolitoglossa morio is much larger and has a dark gray to black coloration with pale markings along its flank and pale dotting all over most of its body. Bolitoglossa nussbaumi is larger in body size, has larger hands and feet, and has more costal folds separating adpressed limbs than the much smaller B. pacaya (Campbell et al. 2010).

In preservative, a wide, bronze to orange-tan dorsal band runs dorsolaterally from the posterior of the eye to the base of the tail. This band may have a distinct delineation of the darker brown or pale lateral lines of its body. These dark brown sides extend down from a dark brown head cap and end in a triangle pointing posteriorly on the proximal third of the tail. These brown sides gradually blend ventrolaterally into the yellow pigmentation of the ventral surface. The chin and the ventral side of the tail are a slightly darker shade of yellow while the limbs display a dorsal bronze to orange coloration (Campbell et al. 2010).

Colors displayed in all three paratypes were very similar with only subtle differences from each other. Their colors did vary from the original holotype, lacking the dark brown sides and displaying orange coloration along the dorsal region of the limbs. The dorsal band is much paler in preservation than in the holotype as well. The ventral surfaces were a pure yellow. Similar to the holotype, all three specimens had a dark brown dorsum on the head extending from the snout to occipital and going down to the tail. The juvenile paratypes also had distinct pale stripes bordering the bronze dorsal band (Campbell et al. 2010).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Guatemala


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Bolitoglossa nussbaumi was first discovered around Todos Santos, in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes mountain range in Huehuetenango in western Guatemala at an elevation of 2912 - 3259 m. It has only been found in this location. Sierra de los Cuchumatanes is at a high elevation (500 - 3800 m), has a subtropical to temperate climate, and dominant vegetation of various bunchgrasses and pines. Bolitoglossa nussbaumi was found in wooded ravines with the surrounding environment consisting of pines, oaks, laurels, woody and brushy plants, typically underneath or inside of rotted wood (Campbell et al. 2010, IUCN 2020).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Bolitoglossa nussbaumi is presumed to lay eggs that undergo direct development (IUCN 2020).

Trends and Threats
This species is listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, but may be extinct and was last seen in 1998. Possible threats include habitat loss from logging and wood harvesting, droughts, livestock, farming, invasive species, climate change, and diseases such as Chytrid fungus (IUCN 2020).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

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


Based on Bayesian analysis on 12S mtDNA, B. nussbaumi is part of the subgenera Magnadigita and is sister to the clade composed of B. centenorum, B. cuchumatana, B. helmrichi, B. huehuetenanguensis, and, B. ninadormida (Campbell et al. 2020)

Bolitoglossa nussbaumi is named after herpetologist Ronald Nussbaum, who specializes in caecilians and participated in field work in Guatemala with the authors of this species description (Campbell et al. 2020).


Campbell, J. A., Smith, E. N., Streicher, J., Acevedo, M. E., Brodie, E. D. Jr. (2010). "New salamanders (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from Guatemala, with miscellaneous notes on known species." Miscellaneous Publications Museum of Zoology University of Michigan, 200, 1-66. [link]

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2020). "Bolitoglossa nussbaumi." The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T194319A2312109. Accessed on 16 May 2022.

Originally submitted by: Gisselle Hernandez, Stephanie Kingham, Emily Patterson (2022-05-18)
Description by: Gisselle Hernandez, Stephanie Kingham, Emily Patterson (updated 2022-05-18)
Distribution by: Gisselle Hernandez, Stephanie Kingham, Emily Patterson (updated 2022-05-18)
Life history by: Gisselle Hernandez, Stephanie Kingham, Emily Patterson (updated 2022-05-18)
Trends and threats by: Gisselle Hernandez, Stephanie Kingham, Emily Patterson (updated 2022-05-18)

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

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Bolitoglossa nussbaumi <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Feb 21, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 21 Feb 2024.

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