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.
Bolitoglossa pacaya differs from most other members of the genus by its small size. Specifically, the species differs from B. mexicana and B. dolfeini in the former having a smaller overall size and the absence of fully webbed feet. Its partially webbed feet can also distinguish it from B. cuchumatana, B. flavimembris, B. hartwegi, B. helrichi, and B. stuarti. Longer limbs and larger extremities in B. pacaya also help distinguish it from B. cuchumatana. Bolitoglossa pacaya have a shorter tail length and more costal grooves in females than B. morio. In addition, B. morio is larger in size, has longer extremities, and has fewer premaxillary and maxillary teeth. A smaller number of premaxillary, maxillary, and vomerine teeth is also seen in B. kaqchikelorum than in B. pacaya. Bolitoglossa huehuetenanguensis is bigger in size, has a longer tail, a greater number of vomerine teeth, and larger hands and feet than B. pacaya. Larger body sizes and the pattern seen on the underbelly of B. pacaya differentiate it from B. engelhardti . Unlike B. pacaya, B. lincolni individuals are found in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes, and they feature a thick reddish band on their dorsal side. Bolitoglossa pacaya individuals also have more webbing than B. lincolni. Bolitoglossa meliana are more solid black in color and have more webbing on hands and the feet than B. pacaya (Campbell et al. 2010).
In life, color patterns on the dorsal side greatly varies between three color variations, usually displayed as a band of black, dark brown, or orange-brown. The dorsolateral parts are usually yellowish-tan. The coloration on the sides of the body is usually dark gray or black with an abundant amount of light blue or light gray marks. The underbelly is dark gray or black with more pale gray or blue marks, that sometimes appear to be lumped. The dorsal side of the head is usually black or dark gray stretching from the muzzle to the parietal region. The extremities are lighter than what is observed on the dorsal side and usually feature blotched markings. The vent that is lightly colored on the posterior side but unpigmented on the anterior side. The tip of the tail is usually yellow or black. In preservative, the dorsum of the holotype is medium brown with a blackish brown lateral stripe. The ventrum is pale with a dark midline and gradually shifts to the coloration on the flanks. The ventrum also has many pale brown flecks (Campbell et al. 2010).
Besides variation in coloration (see above), females are typically larger than males. The number of vomerine teeth range between 14 - 28 (Campbell et al. 2010).
Distribution and Habitat
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Although specific information on B. pacaya is limited, species in the genus Bolitglossa are direct developers with development occurs within the eggs, commonly found on the ground, under rocks, or in decaying logs (Wake and Hanken 1996, Vial 1968). There is no metamorphosis (Wake and Hanken 1996). Bolitoglossa males are sexually mature between 4 - 9 years of age while sexually mature females range between 9 - 14 years of age (Vial 1968).
Bolitoglossa pacaya and B morio, closely related species, can be found in micro-sympatry, using the same bromeliads with similar characteristics in Volcan Pacaya. It is an unusual finding because two closely related species occupying the same habitat should, in theory, result in one excluding the other. This leaves the question of what aspect of their natural history differs to allow them to coexist (Ruano-Fajardo et al. 2014).
Trends and Threats
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
PHYLOGENETIC RELATIONSHIPS:Parsimony and Maximum Likelihood analyses were conducted on sequences of 366 individuals of Amazonian Bolitoglossa at three mitochondrial and two nuclear genes. The three mitochondrial genes used in the analysis were: 16S rRNA, cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and cytochrome b (cytb). The two nuclear markers used were: proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and a recombination of activating gene 1 (RAG1). These analyses indicate that B. pacaya is a non-monophyletic group and forms a polytomy with B. eremia, B. morio, and B. suchitanensis. This result could be from the lack of information in the markers or the information being inconsistent (Jaramillo et al. 2020).
The species epithet comes from where they are found, Volcan de Pacaya. In turn, “pacaya” is a term used to describe different species of palms. These palms are very common in subtropical and humid tropical forests (Campbell et al. 2010).
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.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2020. "Bolitoglossa pacaya". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T194321A2312288. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T194321A2312288.en. Downloaded on 18 February 2021.
Jaramillo, A. F., De La Riva, I., Guayasamin, J. M., Chaparro, J. C., Gagliardi-Urrutia, G., Gutiérrez, R. C., Brcko, I., Vilà, C., Castroviejo-Fisher, S. (2020). "Vastly underestimated species richness of Amazonian salamanders (Plethodontidae: Bolitoglossa) and implications about plethodontid diversification." Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 149, 106841. [link]
Ruano-Fajardo, G., Rovito, S. M., Ladle, R. J. (2014). ''Bromeliad selection by two salamander species in a harsh environment.'' PLos ONE
Vial, J. L. (1968). ''The ecology of the tropical salamander, Bolitoglossa subpalmata, in Costa Rica.'' Revista de Biologia Tropical, 15, 13-115.
Wake, D. B. and Hanken, J. (1996). ''Direct development in the lungless salamanders: what are the consequences for developmental biology, evolution, and phylogenesis?'' International Journal of Developmental Biology, 40, 859-869.
Originally submitted by: Nicolette Zalewski, Sofia Cortes, Ehani Hunter (2021-07-27)
Description by: Nicolette Zalewski, Sofia Cortes, Ehani Hunter (updated 2021-07-27)
Distribution by: Nicolette Zalewski, Sofia Cortes, Ehani Hunter (updated 2021-07-27)
Life history by: Nicolette Zalewski, Sofia Cortes, Ehani Hunter (updated 2021-07-27)
Trends and threats by: Nicolette Zalewski, Sofia Cortes, Ehani Hunter (updated 2021-07-27)
Comments by: Nicolette Zalewski, Sofia Cortes, Ehani Hunter (updated 2021-07-27)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2021-07-27)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Bolitoglossa pacaya <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/7560> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Sep 28, 2021.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2021. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 28 Sep 2021.
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