Volcan Cacao moss salamander
© 2009 Javier Sunyer (1 of 1)
Diagnosis: According to Franzen (1999), Nototriton guanacaste is the second largest species in its genus with a maximum SVL of 33.5 mm, which is only smaller than N. major. One distinctive characteristic to help identify N. guanacaste from other Costa Rican species is its robust habitus, which could reach up to 15.2 percent of its SVL, and a broader and longer head (Good and Wake 1993; Franzen 1999). It is differentiated from N. picadoi, N. richardi, N. tapanti, and N. abscondens by its smaller nostrils; N. guanacaste is further distinguished from N. richardi and N. tapanti by its well-developed front and back limbs. It is distinguished from N. abscondens by its more prominent paratoid glands (Good & Wake 1993).
Description: N. guanacaste has a snout-vent length of approximately 29.7 mm. It has a slender body and narrow head, with a significantly long tail which can reach up to 1.3 times greater than the SVL. The skin is rugose and slightly granular. N. guanacaste has a relatively large and long head, which is well separated from the trunk. Their eyes are moderately sized, and slightly extend beyond the margin of their head. The paratoid glands are prominent. Adults have 25 to 49 maxillary teeth (mean of 32), and 10 to 18 vomerine teeth. N. guanacaste has well developed front and hind limbs with fully differentiable digits (Good and Wake 1993).
Coloration in Preservation: N. guanacaste is medium brown, with highlighted and small non-uniform dark brown markings. The flanks are yellow dorsally and brown ventrally. The venter is dark brown. White spots are widely distributed on the abdominal area of the body and are most noticeable on the ventral surface of the limbs. However, the color is lighter in the gular region and on the tail. The tips of the snout and jaw margin are covered in large cream to yellow dots. The tail is darker in color with lighter lateral markings. They have bright yellow parotoid glands around the dorsal medial area. Behind the hind limbs and in the area around cloaca, are yellow markings (Good and Wake 1993).
Variation: There is great variation in coloration among specimens, ranging from dark flanks to bright overall coloration (Good and Wake 1993). The coloration variation has no correspondence to the different microhabitats (Franzen 1999). There are also variations in body proportion, including tail length and snout-gular length. However, the differences in body proportions have no association with variation in coloration.
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Costa Rica
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Special Behavior: This species displays coil-uncoil flip and running flip defensive behaviors when grasped. Flips went as far as 50 cm (Franzen 1999).
Trends and Threats
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
Loss of genetic diversity from small population phenomena
Phylogenetic relationships: N. guanacaste is most closely related to N. picadoi, N. abscondens and N. gamezi (Garcia-Paris et al. 2000).
Etymology: The species name is taken from the Costa Rican province of Guanacaste, to which the species is restricted. More specifically, the name is in celebration of the establishment of Guanacaste National Park, which contains the entire known range of the species (Good and Wake 1993).
A Spanish-language species account can be found at the website of the Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio).
Franzen, M. (1999). ''Notes on morphological variation and the biology of Nototriton guanacaste Good & Wake, 1993 (Caudata, Plethodontidae).'' Alytes, 16(3-4), 123-129.
García-París, M., Wake, D. B., and Price, A. H. (2000). ''Molecular phylogenetic analysis of relationships of the tropical salamander genera Oedipina and Nototriton, with descriptions of a new genus and three new species.'' Copeia, 2000(1), 42-70.
Good, D. A., and Wake, D. B. (1993). ''Systematic studies of the Costa Rican moss salamanders, genus Nototriton, with descriptions of three new species.'' Herpetological Monographs, 7, 131-159.
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.
Written by Rachel Ferris, Phung Nguyen, and Alexander Taylor (rlferris AT ucdavis.edu), UC Davis
First submitted 2009-11-02
Edited by Mingna (Vicky) Zhuang (2012-02-25)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2012 Nototriton guanacaste: Volcan Cacao moss salamander <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/4090> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jan 20, 2021.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2021. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 20 Jan 2021.
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