AmphibiaWeb - Cryptotriton xucaneborum
AMPHIBIAWEB
Cryptotriton xucaneborum
Sierra de Xucaneb Hidden Salamander; Salamandra Escondida de la Sierra de Xucaneb
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Cryptotriton
 
Species Description: Rovito, S. M., C. R. Vásquez-Almazán, T. J. Papenfuss, G. Parra-Olea and D. B. Wake. 2015. Biogeography and evolution of Central American cloud forest salamanders (Caudata: Plethodontidae: Cryptotriton), with the description of a new species. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 175: 150-166.

Carlos R. Vasquez-Almazan
© 2015 Carlos R. Vasquez-Almazan (1 of 14)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Critically Endangered (CR)
CITES No CITES Listing
National Status None
Regional Status None

   

 

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Description
Cryptotriton xucaneborum is a medium-sized salamander with adult males having a snout-vent length ranging between 24.9 - 25.7 mm and adult females having a snout-vent length ranging between 24.9 - 32.0 mm. This species has a moderately-sized head roughly the same width as its body. Cryptotriton xucaneborum has a broad and blunt snout. Nostrils of this species are relatively large, with the maximum nostril diameter being about 0.6 mm. Nasolabial grooves of this species are prominent and wide, but are not long enough to go past the lip margin. When looking at this species' head from above, the eyes extend a little over the jawline. Large paratoid glands and a large elliptical mental hedonic gland are conspicuous. Cryptotriton xucaneborum has relatively long limbs with roughly two costal folds between adpressed limbs. The feet and hands of this species exhibit little webbing between the digits, and the digits themselves are well-rounded. This species has a round tail that is longer than its body. The tail shows basal constriction with gradual tapering towards one end (Rovito et al. 2015).

One trait that distinguishes C. xucaneborum from other members of its genus is color. While the ventrum of C. xucaneborum is dark, between a blend of gray and brown, the ventrum of C. sierraminensis is yellow and that of C. veraepacis is a much lighter gray. In addition, the gular region of C. xucaneborum is much darker than that in C. veraepacis. Additionally, there is no color yellow in the gular region in C. xucaneborum while C. sierraminensis has some. Another way to distinguish C. xucaneborum from another species is the size of its nostrils. Compared to C. nasalis and C. alvarezdeltoroi, C. xucaneborum has much smaller nostrils. Lastly, C. xucaneborum is different from C. necopinus, in that C. xucaneborum has a longer tail, fewer vomerine and maxillary teeth, more circular nostrils, and premaxillary prefrontal processes that are initially fused but separate distally rather being separate their entire length (Rovito et al. 2015).

In life, C. xucaneborum exhibits a burnt orange coloration on the dorsal surface. Dark brown chevrons run from the snout to the vent. Burnt orange also extends throughout the dorsal surface of the tail, with the final third of the tail being a cherry red. The dorsal surface of the limbs and feet are burnt orange with both dark-colored with white specks. The toes tips show a hint of pink. The ventrum of this species is dark, between a blend of gray and brown. There are numerous white flecks throughout the ventral surface. The lower two-thirds of the tail shows a warm maroon coloration. The ventral surface of the limbs is pale gray with white specks. The ventral surface of the feet are pale gray with the toe tips shows a hint of pink (Rovito et al. 2015).

In a preservative, the coloration of the dorsal surface for C. xucaneborum is similar to that when alive. The dorsal surface is a burnt orange with dark brown chevrons running from the snout to the vent. A light brownish yellow extends throughout the dorsal surface of the tail. The surface of the limbs and feet is streaked a light brownish yellow and earthy brown. The gular region shows a marbled dark brown and gray, ultimately combining to a solid brown near the gular fold. The ventrum of this species is dark brown except for the lower third of the tail, which is a light brownish yellow. The ventral surface of the limbs is streaked with a light brownish yellow and earthy brown color. The feet are a light-colored gray. Flecks on the ventrum of this species are faded (Rovito et al. 2015).

Individuals of this species vary in size, with females being slightly larger than males. The nasolabial grooves for female C. xucaneborum are not as prominent as males. There is variation in both maxillary and vomerine teeth. Among females, maxillary- premaxillary teeth range between 37 - 57. The largest female showed six vomerine teeth, while the smallest male displayed 13 vomerine teeth (Rovito et al. 2015).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Guatemala

 

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
The distribution for C. xucaneborum is limited to the Sierra de Xucaneb, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. More specifically, recently collected specimens were found in two locations: Finca Volcán, Municipio Senahú and Chelemhá, Municipio Tucurú. Habitat for this species includes subtropical rainforest and lower montane rainforest (Rovito et al. 2015) and the species exists at elevations between 1,370 - 2,045 m asl (IUCN 2022).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Cryptotriton xucaneborum is a tropical, nocturnal, and arboreal species and is closely associated with cloud forest vegetation. They tend to inhabit vegetation about 1 - 2 m above the ground (Rovito et al. 2015).

Trends and Threats
Extensive deforestation in the region of habitation by C. xucaneborum has eliminated suitable habitat for the species (Rovito et al. 2015). As a result, C. xucaneborum is listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List (IUCN 2020).

Another looming threat to this species would be the introduction of the salamander chytrid fungus known as “Bsal”. Even though this fungus has not been detected in the Americas, it could prove to be detrimental based on its recorded devastation to populations in Europe (IUCN 2020).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Urbanization
Predators (natural or introduced)
Introduced competitors
Disease

Comments

Based on Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian analyses of 16S and cytb mtDNA and four nuclear genes: BDNF, POMC, RAG1, and SLC8A3, C. xucaneborum is sister to the clade composed of C. veraepacis and an unnamed species (Rovito et. al. 2015).

Cryptotriton xucaneborum is named after the area it inhabits: the Sierra de Xucaneb, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala (Rovito et. al. 2015).

References

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2020). "Cryptotriton xucaneborum." The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T89183450A154195923. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-2.RLTS.T89183450A154195923.en. Accessed on 23 February 2022.

Rovito, S. M., Vásquez-Almazán, C. R., Papenfuss, T. J., Parra-Olea, G., Wake, D. B. (2015). “Biogeography and evolution of Central American cloud forest salamanders (Caudata: Plethodontidae: Cryptotriton), with the description of a new species.” Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 175(1), 150-166. [link]



Originally submitted by: Angela Farris, Natalie Youssef, Zulema Morales (2022-03-16)
Description by: Angela Farris, Natalie Youssef, Zulema Morales (updated 2022-03-16)
Distribution by: Angela Farris, Natalie Youssef, Zulema Morales (updated 2022-03-16)
Life history by: Angela Farris, Natalie Youssef, Zulema Morales (updated 2022-03-16)
Trends and threats by: Angela Farris, Natalie Youssef, Zulema Morales (updated 2022-03-16)
Comments by: Angela Farris, Natalie Youssef, Zulema Morales (updated 2022-03-16)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2022-03-16)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Cryptotriton xucaneborum: Sierra de Xucaneb Hidden Salamander; Salamandra Escondida de la Sierra de Xucaneb <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/8360> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 4, 2022.



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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2022. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 4 Jul 2022.

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