AmphibiaWeb - Chiropterotriton multidentatus


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Chiropterotriton multidentatus (Taylor, 1939)
Toothy Splayfoot Salamander
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Chiropterotriton

© 2010 Sean Michael Rovito (1 of 17)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Endangered (EN)
National Status None
Regional Status None
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (3 records).

Description and Diagnosis: Chiropterotriton multidentatus is a terrestrial salamander that lives in crevices and has direct development (Parra-Olea 2003; Parra-Olea et al. 2004). The species is characterized by its large phalangeal pads, extensively webbed feet, small number of large teeth, and coloration. C. multidentatus has a SVL of 27-38 mm in males and 26-33 mm in females (Rabb 1958). Adult males have a well developed mental hedonic gland cluster. Females have developed ova that are visible through the body. Juveniles range from 26-33 mm, intermediates (those that lack the characteristics of a breeding condition) range from 35-43 mm and adults range from 37-47 mm (Dodd and Brodie 1976).

Variation: Tail length varies from 28-50 mm in males and 31-37 mm in females, with larger salamanders having longer tails (Dodd and Brodie 1976).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Mexico


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (3 records).
C. multidendatus is native to Mexico in southern San Luis Potosi, southern Tamaulipas, and southern Hidalgo at altitudes of 2,000 to 2,900 m above sea level. It used to be abundant in Hidalgo, but the population there declined in the early 1980s (Parra-Olea et al. 2004). It is also found in the same geographic range as C. cracens (Parra-Olea 2003).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Defensive behaviors are not significantly different between male and female adults or across temperature changes of 4, 12 and 20°C. Juveniles and hatchlings remained immobile at 12°C significantly longer than at 4 or 20°C. In response to predators and being rolled onto its back, C. multidentatus becomes immobile, coils up with or without the limbs collapsed or attempts to escape by running (Dodd and Brodie 1976).

Trends and Threats
Major threats to this species include destruction of its forest habitat due to agricultural activities and logging. In areas where their habitat has been preserved, declining populations may be explained by threats such as climate change and disease (Parra-Olea et al. 2004).

Relation to Humans
This species has been greatly affected by the activities of humans. Logging and agriculture are responsible for significantly degrading its habitat. Mexican legislation now protects these salamanders and there has been a call for increased research on this species.

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

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

This species was originally named Oedipus multidentatus and went through three name changes to Chiropterotriton multidentatus in 1958 (Frost 2011).

The phylogentic position of C. multidentatus is still very uncertain due to the lack of new specimens and the fact that previous taxonomic work was conducted before genetic sequencing and immunological comparisons techniques. Sequence divergence between haplotypes places C. multidentatus as most closely related to C. cracens (Parra-Olea 2003). Darda (1994) tentatively assigned specimens from Rancho del Cielo, Tamaulipas to this species, but the specimens from Rancho del Cielo assigned to C. multidentatus may represent a different species Rabb (1958).

There are two separate populations of C. multidentatus, one from Hidalgo and another from Tamaulipas. They differ from one another in feet morphology, body size, dentition and coloration, but are still identified as the same species Rabb (1958). The occurrence of gaps along the Sierra Madre Oriental might mean that the habitat of C. multidentatus was once widespread but is now patchy, which would explain the genetic variation between the two groups (Darda 1994).


Darda, D. M. (1994). "Allozyme variation and morphological evolution among Mexican salamanders of the genus Chiropterotriton (Caudata: Plethodontidae)." Herpetologica, 50, 164-187. [link]

Dodd, C. K. Jr., and Brodie, E. D. Jr. (1976). ''Defense mechanisms of neotropical salamanders with an experimental analysis of immobility and the effect of temperature on immobility.'' Herpetological Monographs, 32, 269-290.

Parra-Olea, G. (2003). "Phylogenetic relationships of the genus Chiropterotriton (Caudata : Plethodontidae) based on 16S ribosomal mtDNA." Canadian Journal of Zoology, 81, 2048-2060. [link]

Rabb, G. B. (1958). ''On certain Mexican salamanders of the plethodontid genus Chiropterotriton.'' Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology, 587, 1-37.

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: Samantha Cherry, Kimberly Brown, and Daniela Palmer (first posted 2011-04-20)
Edited by: Brent Nguyen (2012-03-19)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2012 Chiropterotriton multidentatus: Toothy Splayfoot Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 20, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 20 May 2024.

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