Nototriton costaricense Arias & Kubicki, 2018
Southern Moss Salamander
|Species Description: Arias, E., Kubicki, B. 2018. A new moss salamander, genus Nototriton (Caudata: Plethodontidae), from the Cordillera de Talamanca, in the Costa Rica-Panama border region. Zootaxa 4369: 487–500.|
Nototriton costaricense is a salamander described from a single subadult individual. The standard length of the individual is 21.9 mm and the total length is 46.9 mm. Its skin is smooth on every part of the body. The head is flat and a little wider than the neck and shoulders, and it has a short snout, no cirri, and subtle nasolabial grooves. Its large nostrils do not protrude from the head, and its eyes are large and protrude slightly. The eyes have a horizontal pupil. There are a pair of parotoid glands on the back side of its head that are raised slightly off of the skin’s surface. The forelimbs are slender and reasonably long, with small hands. Fingers II, III, and IV are distinct and have round tips, while Finger I on each hand is very small. The relative lengths of the fingers are I < IV < II < III. They also do not have webbing between fingers II, III, and IV. The hind limbs are similarly slender and long with toes II, III, IV, and V being thin and having rounded tips. The relative lengths of the toes are I < V < IV < II < III. They also do not have webbing between toes II, III, IV. Its body is thick and has eleven costal grooves between the axilla and the groin. The tail is quite long and tapers off to a point, with no obvious constriction at the area where it meets the body. There are fifteen caudal grooves, at minimum, visible along the first three-fourths of the tail, but none are visible along the final one-fourth of the tail (Arias and Kubicki 2018).
This new species can be distinguished from other Nototrition by several characteristics: one is the fact that they have quite large nostrils (specifically, their diameter is bigger than 0.3 mm), they lack webbing, have a stocky body, and have relatively long hind limbs. More specifically, N. costaricense can be distinguished from N. abscondens, a closely related species, by the latter having smaller nostrils, a narrower head, and a thinner body in comparison. Compared to N. gamezi, which has the second-lowest genetic distance from N. costaricense, N. costaricense has longer hindlimbs, a wider head, and a thicker body. Lastly, N. guanacaste, which has the third-lowest genetic distance from N. costaricense, has smaller nostrils and shorter hind limbs (Arias and Kubicki 2018).
In life, the main colors on the dorsal surfaces of the head and body are bright scarlet, reddish, and pale browns. Both dark and white-gray dashes and speckles cover these areas as well. There is a pale orangeish patch on the posterior of the parotoid glands. On the top center of the head, there is a patch of especially dark patterns. The dorsal surfaces arms and legs are grayish-brown with random specks of white and bright scarlet. Along the lateral surfaces of the body and tail, white dashes create a band running down the length of the salamander. The tail’s dominant dorsal surface color is bright scarlet and is mottled with white dashes and specks. The ventral surfaces of the head, body, and limbs are a combination of pale brown and gray with white speckles and marks. The tail’s ventral coloration is similar to the coloration of the body but with a darker gray color to it. The eyes are dark red in color. After being preserved in 70% ethanol for two years, the specimen darkened (Arias and Kubicki 2018).
At the time of the species description, variation could not be assessed as only one subadult of N. costaricense was described (Arias and Kubicki 2018).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Costa Rica
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The holotype of this species was found in a moss mat that was growing on the trunk of a tree one meter above the ground, indicating this maybe a terrestrial and arboreal species. Other members of the N. picadoi species group, which N. costaricense is a member of, can also be found in moss mats and it is likely for N. costaricense as a whole (Arias and Kubicki 2018).
Specifics about the reproductive life of N. costaricense are not known as of 2018 (Arias and Kubicki 2018). However, one of the members of the N. picadoi species group, N. picadoi, has seasonal oviposition of egg clutches that begins at the start of the wet season, and eggs tend to hatch by the time the wet season ends (Bruce 1998).
Trends and Threats
Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian analyses of 16S RNA, cytochrome b, and cytochrome oxidase mitochondria genes suggested that N. costaricense is a member of the N. picadoi species group, with some weak support for it being a sister species to the rest of the group. The authors also noted its unique morphological characteristics, such as a particularly thick body, a wide head, and longer limbs as traits that identify it as a new species (Arias and Kubicki 2018).
The species epithet “costaricense” means “Costa Rican” in Spanish, and was chosen as a reference to where the species was first discovered by science (Arias and Kubicki 2018).
OTHER INTERESTING INFORMATION:
If N. costaricense is found in Panama as well as Costa Rica, it would be the first member in the genus Nototriton to be found outside of Costa Rica (Arias and Kubicki 2018).
Arias, E., Kubicki, B. (2018). “A new moss salamander, genus Nototriton (Caudata: Plethodontidae), from the Cordillera de Talamanca, in the Costa Rica-Panama border region.” Zootaxa, 4369(4), 487-500. [link]
Bruce, R. C. (1998). ''Nesting habits, eggs and hatchlings of the salamander Nototriton picadoi (Plethodontidae: Bolitoglossini).'' Herpetological Monographs, 54, 13-18.
Feldmeier, S., Schefczyk, L., Wagner, N., Heinemann, G., Veith, M., Lötters, S., Gratwicke, B. (2016). “Exploring the distribution of the spreading lethal salamander chytrid fungus in its invasive range in Europe - a macroecological approach.” PloS one, 11(10), e0165682. [link]
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2020. "Nototriton costaricense." The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T154107179A154107185. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T154107179A15410715en. Accessed on 05 February 2022.
Originally submitted by: Victoria Smith, Lindsey Flores, April Perez Rodriguez (2022-03-29)
Description by: Victoria Smith, Lindsey Flores, April Perez Rodriguez (updated 2022-03-29)
Distribution by: Victoria Smith, Lindsey Flores, April Perez Rodriguez (updated 2022-03-29)
Life history by: Victoria Smith, Lindsey Flores, April Perez Rodriguez (updated 2022-03-29)
Trends and threats by: Victoria Smith, Lindsey Flores, April Perez Rodriguez (updated 2022-03-29)
Comments by: Victoria Smith, Lindsey Flores, April Perez Rodriguez (updated 2022-03-29)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2022-03-29)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Nototriton costaricense: Southern Moss Salamander <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/8762> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 3, 2023.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 3 Jun 2023.
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