AmphibiaWeb - Bolitoglossa pandi


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Bolitoglossa pandi Brame & Wake, 1963
Pandi Mushroomtongue Salamander
Subgenus: Eladinea
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Bolitoglossa

© 2009 Giovanni Alberto Chaves Portilla (1 of 12)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Endangered (EN)
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Bolitoglossa pandi is a medium-sized neotropical salamander with a limited range in Colombia. The species description was based on one female specimen, whose head had previously been dissected. She had a standard length of 50.4 mm (Brame and Wake 1963). Another study identified adults as having a snout-vent length of at least 44 mm, juveniles were between 24 – 43 mm, and neonates were 23 mm or less (del Río-García et al. 2014). The head is longer than it is wide and the depth is about half the width. The snout was moderately long and truncated. The nostrils are triangular, moderately large, and directed posteriorly. The eye and eyelid are moderate in size and a groove is present under and following the curvature of the eye. Within their mouths they have 39 maxillary teeth, 20 vomerine teeth, and two premaxillary teeth. The limbs are moderate in length with the front limbs shorter than hind. There is extensive webbing of the hands and feet with only the terminal phalanx of the longest digit free of webbing on each hand or foot. The digits are discrete, somewhat flattened, and rounded at the tips. The subterminal pads are poorly developed and small. The relative finger length is 3 > 2 > 4 > 1 and the relative toe length is 3 > 4 > 2 > 5 > 1 (Brame and Wake 1963). Males have visible mental glands during the breeding season and less distinct mental glands in the non-breeding season (del Río-García et al. 2014).

Bolitoglossa pandi can be distinguished from B. hypacra, B. savage, and B. vallecula by the number of maxillary teeth, extensive digit webbing, and coloration. Specifically, B. pandi and B. vallecula both have webbed limbs, but B. pandi’s webbing is more extensive than B. vallecula’s, which does not fully extent to the digits' ends. The digits of B. pandi’s webbed feet can be clearly distinguished from each other, but in B. sima the digits are not clearly defined. The focal species can also be differentiated from B. adspersa by the former having more extensive webbing and prefrontal bones on its skull. Compared to B. biseriata, the focal species has slightly less webbing and lacks a biseriate color pattern. The size of B. capitana is almost twice that of B. pandi and the former has a black ground color instead of B. pandi’s reddish-gray. Bolitoglossa pandi has fewer vomerine teeth in comparison to B. bisteriata, B. nicefori, B. capitana, and B. borburata. Lastly, B. nicefori has a wider head and different coloration than B. pandi (Brame and Wake 1963).

In preservative, the eyelids and dorsal coloration of this salamander is a solid red-grey dark color with a bluish cast. The ventrolateral and ventral sides are lighter in color and can contain cream-colored spots. The ventral part of the hands and feet are unpigimented as are irregular areas on the dorsal surfaces of the hands and feet. A small unpigmented area near the tail can be found on specimen (Brame and Wake 1963).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Colombia


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Bolitoglossa pandi is found in the department of Cundinamarca, Colombia; more specifically forests in the Cordillera Oriental of the Colombian Andes, in the Municipio of Pandi at elevations around 1,300m above sea level. The area is neotropical with humid forests (Pinilla et al. 2004).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Bolitoglossa pandi inhabit terrestrial and arboreal areas with low-growing vegetation in ravine forests (Brame and Wake 1963). They are seen in higher abundance during rainy months. Bolitoglossa pandi is usually found on the ground to 120 cm above ground of forests on the topside of leaves. During the day, they are found hiding in the leaf litter and in bromeliads. At night they can be found on the vegetation of the forest foraging for food. There is an age structure associated with habitat where younger, smaller individuals are found lower in vegetation than older, larger individuals (del Río-García et al. 2014).

Members of the family Plethodontidae, such as Bolitoglossa pandi, reproduce through internal fertilization using specialized cloacal glands (Gonzalez-Leon 2010). During breeding, males of the genus Bolitoglossa will deposit one spermatophore, and females lay eggs on land and provide parental care by attending their eggs (Houck 1977).

This species reproduces by direct development (Pinilla et al. 2004). Clutch size for this species has not been determined, but related species have clutches of 20 - 54 ova (Houck 1977). Because adult male B. pandi were found with poorly developed mental glands in non-reproductive mode it is assumed that the species has a seasonal reproductive cycle (del Río-García et al. 2014).

Like the other members of the genus Bolitoglossa, B. pandi is known to catch their prey using their free projectile tongues (Lombard and Wake 1986). Their diet mainly consists of arthropods, e.g. beetles, ants, mites (Houck 1977, del Río-García et al. 2014). Although they have similar diets, juveniles eat more small prey organisms (e.g. mites) than adults. They find their prey on the ground and on vegetation by actively foraging, and by ambush predation (del Río-García et al. 2014).

Mites and ants can be an important source of alkaloids involved in chemical defense for other species of amphibians. The high presence of them in B. pandi’s diet suggests that B. pandi might similarly sequester the alkaloids for use in chemical defense. Other members of the genus Bolitoglossa are poisonous, however, currently there is no research to prove B. pandi is as well (del Río-García et al. 2014).

The species produces a semi-viscous substance when handled, which could potentially be a form of defense against predation (del Río-García et al. 2014).

Trends and Threats
Bolitoglossa pandi is an uncommon species with a limited range. Due to agricultural uses, such as crop cultivation and livestock, its already limited habitat is being reduced, degraded, and fragmented. The current population is decreasing in size and is listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Redlist (Pinilla et al. 2004).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Habitat fragmentation

The species authority is: Brame, A. H., Wake, D.B. (1963). "The salamanders of South America." Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County - Contributions in Science. 69: 5 – 72.

The genus Bolitoglossa is divided into four main groups: B. phalarosoma, B. alramazonica, B. pabtrata, and B. adspersa. Bolitoglossa pandi falls into the B. adspersa group, which contains salamanders predominantly from Bolivia and Colombia. The members of this group share features such as fully webbed hands and feet, similar body size and proportions, and have similar vomerine teeth (Brame and Wake 1963).

Bolitoglossa pandi derives its species epithet from the area in which it was first collected, the Municipio of Pandi (Brame and Wake 1963).

The holotype was collected before 1913 and stored in the Hamburg Museum where it was catalogued as Spelerpes adspersus. At some point before the species description, someone was allowed to dissect the head making the description of the head difficult. However, the coloration of the holotype was well preserved (Brame and Wake 1963).


Brame, A. H., Wake, D.B. (1963). ''The salamanders of South America.'' Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County - Contributions in Science, 69, 5-72.

Gonzalez-Leon, E., Ramirez-Pinilla, M.P. (2011). ''Cloacal morphology in Bolitoglossa nicefori (Caudata: Plethodontidae): Variation during the reproductive cycle.'' The Anatomical Record, 294(2), 349-62.

Houck, L.D. (1977). ''Life history patterns and reproductive biology of neotropical salamanders.'' The Reproductive Biology of Amphibians. Taylor, D.H., Guttman, S.I., eds., Springer, New York, New York, 43–72.

Lombard, R.E., Wake, D.B. (1986). ''Tongue Evolution in the Lungless Salamanders, Family Plethodontidae IV. Phylogeny of Plethodontid Salamanders and the Evolution of Feeding Dynamics.'' Systematic Zoology, 35(4), 532–551.

del Rio-Garcia, J.S., Serrano-Cardozo, V.H., Ramirez-Pinilla, M.P. (2014). ''Diet and Microhabitat Use of Bolitoglossa Cf. pandi (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from the Cordillera Oriental of Colombia.'' South American Journal of Herpetology, 9(1), 52-61.

Originally submitted by: Evyn Kessell, Prathna Maharaj, and Glenda Sanchez (first posted 2017-07-07)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2017-07-07)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2017 Bolitoglossa pandi: Pandi Mushroomtongue Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Feb 24, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 24 Feb 2024.

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