Isthmura maxima
Southern Giant Salamander, Salamandra Gigante de Putla
Subgenus: Isthmura
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
Species Description: Parra-Olea G, Garcia-Paris M, Papenfuss TJ, Wake DB 2005 Systematics of the Pseudoeurycea bellii (Caudata: Plethodontidae) species complex. Herpetologica 61:145-158

© 2007 David Wake (1 of 6)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Endangered (EN)
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Mexico


View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.


From the IUCN Red List Species Account:


Range Description

This species was previously only known from just north and south of Putla de Guerrero in Oaxaca, Mexico, between 750-2,000 m asl . However, it has recently been found north of San Gabriel Mixtepec in Oaxaca, 130 km southeast of the type locality (Delia et al. 2007), and at Ejido Tres Marías from the municipality of Malinaltepec, Guerrero (García-Vázquez and Durán-Fuentes 2012). These two records greatly expand its distribution and suggest that it is very likely occurs at localities in between the known sites, especially since these regions are relatively poorly explored herpetologically (S. Rovito pers. comm. Red List Assessment Workshop 2014). Its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 6,496 kmand its area of occupancy (AOO) is 268 km2.

Habitat and Ecology

The species is the largest tropical salamander and appears to live in permanent burrows (T. Papenfuss and D. Wake, pers. comm. 2007). Individuals have been found in a banana field and a roadside bank, suggesting some degree of tolerance to habitat disturbance. Its minimum viable population size may require a larger area of occupancy (D. Wake pers. comm. 2007). This species reproduces by direct development.


It is known only from a few specimens found on several different collection trips to the region.

Population Trend


Major Threats

The major threats for this species are urbanisation and changed agricultural practice away from shade grown coffee and increased tilling.

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species has not been recorded in any protected areas and is not protected by Mexican law.

Conservation Needed
Habitat protection is required for this species.

Research Needed
Further surveys are required to determine the full range of the species, and further research on its population size and trends.

Red List Status

Endangered (EN)


Listed as Endangered because its area of occupancy (AOO) is 268 km2, it occurs in fewer than five threat-defined locations, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat.

Taxonomic Notes

This species was previously within the genus Pseudoeurycea but has recently been moved to Isthmura (Dubois and Raffaëlli 2012).


IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2016. Isthmura maxima. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T61907A53989368. .Downloaded on 22 January 2019


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