Bolitoglossa robusta (Cope, 1894)
© 2009 Angel Solis (1 of 10)
Diagnosis: Bolitoglossa robusta is a large, robust salamander species, one of the 2-3 largest neotropical salamanders, with adult standard length frequently exceeding 100 mm and maximum total length of 260 mm (Hanken et al. 2005; Savage 2002). It is distinct from other species of Bolitoglossa in having a light-colored ring around the base of the tail (Hanken et al. 2005).
Description: The mean SL of adult males is 83.4 mm (range 44.6-113.9 mm); adult females 105.1 mm (range 64.9-133.5 mm). Mean SL/TL is 1.09 (range 0.9-1.5). The snout is rounded to subtruncate. Nostrils are small. asolabial protuberances are poorly developed or absent in females, and moderately developed in males. The mental gland of adult males is conspicuous, gray in color and wider than long. Eyes are fairly large, and protrude slightly beyond the jaw margins in dorsal view. Premaxillary teeth average 6.1 in number (range 4-8) in males and 8.5(5-12) in females; maxillary teeth 65.5(31-100) in males and 84.6(60-102) in females; vomerine teeth 28.9(18-40) in males and 33.9(25-41) in females. Males have slightly enlarged premaxillary teeth that protrude anteriorly through the upper lip. Some specimens have vomerine teeth in patches formed by extra tooth rows in the distal part of the preorbital process. The limb interval is 3.0 in males and 3.3 in females. Limbs are short. Hands and feet are webbed except for 1 to 1.5 distal-most phalanges of longest digits, and are moderately sized with broad, truncated digit tips. Subterminal pads are present on all digits. Fingers in decreasing order of length are 3>(2>4)>1, while toes are 3>4>2>5>1 (Hanken et al. 2005).
In life, the salamander is black overall with a pale pigmented ring around the base of the tail. The tail ring is cream-colored, golden, rose, or red-orange and may be faint or more prominent. Elbows, knees and tail tip are brown. The venter is mottled with gray. The throat is black but may have white speckling. The mental gland is slightly pigmented. Postiliac gland is visible but pale. Dorsal surfaces of the femur and forelimb may have coppery pigment. Some individuals have white dorsal spotting, particularly individuals from Panamá; some individuals from Costa Rica may have a suffusion of white speckles on the lateral and dorsal sides Tail may have irregular bold whitish spots, particularly laterally and ventrally. Iris is dark gray to black. Juveniles have bright yellow to orange feet (Hanken et al. 2005; Savage 2002).
In preservative, it is dark gray-black with a cream-yellow or gray-white ring around the base of the tail. Tiny white flecks near eyelids and jaws, and on gular region, and ventral surfaces of limbs and tail, and some indistinct flecks on the dorsolateral surfaces. Pair of inguinal spots may be present. Tail may have lighter patches on the sides (Hanken et al. 2005).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Costa Rica, Panama
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Trends and Threats
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
First described by Cope (1894), and redescribed by Hanken et al. (2005). The specific name derives from the Latin word robustus, meaning strong and hard like an oak and referring to the large and stout body (Hanken et al. 2005).
A Spanish-language species account can be found at the website of Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio).
Cope, E. D. (1894). ''Third addition to a knowledge of the batrachia and reptilia of Costa Rica.'' Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 46, 194-206.
Hanken, J. Wake, D. B., and Savage, J. M. (2005). ''A solution to the large black salamander problem (genus Bolitoglossa) in Costa Rica and Panamá.'' Copeia, 2005(2), 227-245.
Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica:a herpetofauna between two continents, between two seas. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, USA and London.
Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Savage, J., Wake, D., Chaves, G., and Bolaños, F. 2008. Bolitoglossa robusta. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 11 March 2011.
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.
Originally submitted by: Christine Lu (first posted 2009-11-02)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2011-03-12)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2011 Bolitoglossa robusta: Ringtail Salamander <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/4007> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 8, 2023.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 8 Jun 2023.
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