AmphibiaWeb - Bolitoglossa tica


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Bolitoglossa tica García-París, Parra-Olea & Wake, 2008
Tico Salamander, salamandra tica
Subgenus: Eladinea
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Bolitoglossa
Species Description: Garcia-Paris M, Parra-Olea B, Wake DB 2008 Description of a new species of the Bolitoglossa subpalamata group (Caudata: Plethodontidae)from Costa Rica. Herp. J. 18:23-31.
Bolitoglossa tica
© 2017 Twan Leenders (1 of 14)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Data Deficient (DD)
National Status None
Regional Status None
conservation needs Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .


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Bolitoglossa tica is a slender salamander of moderate size (37.7-59.7mm SL in males and 41.3-53.9mm in females). The head is well-defined and distinct from the neck, and moderately broad; the snout is truncate to bluntly rounded with small nares. Nasolabial protuberances are modest to well-developed, with sexually mature males having larger protuberances. Eyes are protuberant and protrude slightly beyond the lateral margins of the head, when the animal is viewed ventrally. Premaxillary teeth range in number from 2-5 in males (mean 3.4) and 3-5 in females (mean 3.7). Maxillary teeth may number from 38-61 (mean 45.8 in males, 46.0 in females). Vomerine teeth may number from 19-34 in males (mean 24.2) and from 22-46 in females (mean 28.9). The trunk is fairly slender, while limbs are relatively long. Hands and feet are broad and digits are both moderately webbed and bluntly tipped. Fingers decrease in length from 3-4-2-1; toes decrease from 3-4-2-5-1. Tails are typically slender and long. Postiliac glands are usually obscure. Large, oval-shaped mental glands (indicating sexual maturity) are present in larger males (García-París et al. 2008).

This species has a flat reddish brown to nearly black dorsal coloration, with a darker tail. Two poorly defined reddish brown stripes may be present, running over each shoulder down to the mid-body, as well as a brownish red mid-dorsal stripe from shoulder to tail constriction. The venter is dark to shiny black, with a somewhat lighter throat that may have white speckling on the gular region. Speckles of bright white are concentrated around the pelvic area, near the cloaca, tail and pre-pelvic region. The tip of the snout and the region anterior to the eyes are pale tan. The iris is a bright gold-grey. One adult female specimen, from Cañon, had a broad red-brown mottled dorsal band, with red-brown, cream and black mottling of the face. The single juvenile specimen had a dark reddish brown dorsum with black streaks, nearly black flanks, brown-speckled venter with a few bright white spots, and cream-tipped nasolabial protuberances. (García-París et al. 2008).

In alcohol the holotype is dark grey-black dorsally with a narrow tan stripe that extends from the nape of the neck to the end of the body. The head and limbs are lighter than the body and appear dark grey-brown (García-París et al. 2008).

Bolitoglossa tica is distinguished from other members of the B. subpalmata clade by mtDNA and allozyme differences, and by its particularly well-defined head. In addition, it is distinguished from B. subpalmata by having fewer maxillary teeth, more vomerine teeth, and smaller hands and feet (García-París et al. 2008).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Costa Rica

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Bolitoglossa tica is endemic to the Cerro de la Muerte-Tapanti region of Cordillera de Talamanca, Costa Rica (García-París et al. 2000, as Bolitoglossa sp. B; García-París et al. 2008). This species has been found in two locations: on the northern slopes of Cordillera de Talamanca (2200-2500m) and on the Cerros de Escazu (1745-2500m) (García-París et al. 2008). It inhabits humid cloudforest and subtropical montane rainforest, with a mean annual temperature of 12-15 degrees C, and 1,825-2,300mm of annual rainfall (García-París et al. 2008). There is relatively less rainfall from January to April (García-París et al. 2008). The type locality is a disturbed oak forest with many arboreal bromeliads (García-París et al. 2008).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Bolitoglossa tica is an arboreal salamander that has frequently been found in bromeliads, as well as climbing ferns (Lycopodiaceae) and other vegetation (15cm-3m high) (García-París et al. 2008). It has also been found under surface litter, under the bark of logs, and on road banks at night (García-París et al. 2008). Field observations indicate that Bolitoglossa tica is generally quick and lively (García-París et al. 2008). Like other members of the genus it feeds on small arthropods by using tongue projection to capture them (García-París et al. 2000).

This species is almost certainly a direct developer, lacking a larval stage, as are the other members of the genus Bolitoglossa (García-París et al. 2000).

Trends and Threats
Little information is available as to abundance. This species appears to be declining, though it is present in several protected areas: the Cerros de Escazú protected zone, Parque Nacional Tapantí, and Reserva Biológica Cerro las Vueltas (IUCN 2008).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Habitat fragmentation

This species was named in honor of the Costa Rican people, who refer to themselves as "ticos," in recognition of their leadership in habitat preservation and conservation (García-París et al. 2008).


Brame, A. H., Jr. and Wake, D. B. (1972). ''New species of salamanders (genus Bolitoglossa) from Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama.'' Contributions in Science, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 219, 1-34.

García-París, M., Good, D. A., Parra-Olea, G., and Wake, D.B. (2000). ''Biodiversity of Costa Rican salamanders: implications of high levels of genetic differentiation and phylogeographic structure for species formation.'' Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 97, 1640-1647.

García-París, M., Parra-Olea, G., and Wake, D.B. (2008). ''Description of a new species of the Bolitoglossa subpalmata group (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from Costa Rica.'' Herpetological Journal, 18, 23-31.

IUCN (2008). 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 7 February 2009.

Parra-Olea, G., García-París, M., Hanken, J., and Wake, D.B. (2004). ''A new species of arboreal salamander (Caudata: Plethodontidae: Pseudoeurycea) from the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico.'' Journal of Natural History, 38, 2119-2131.

Originally submitted by: Henry Zhu (first posted 2008-09-26)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2009-02-07)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2009 Bolitoglossa tica: Tico Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 17, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 17 Jun 2024.

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