AmphibiaWeb - Nototriton picadoi
Nototriton picadoi
La estrella (star) salamander
Subgenus: Nototriton
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Nototriton

© 2021 Juan G. Abarca (1 of 4)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report.



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Diagnosis: Nototriton picadoi is a robust salamander with large nostrils and a head of moderate length and width. Its legs are shorter than other members of the Nototriton genus. It has a thicker trunk and larger nostrils than similar species N. abscondens (Savage 2002).

Description: This is a small and secretive plethodontid. The snout-vent length ranges from 25.3 mm to 28.3 mm (Bruce 1999). Total length can be up to 66 mm (Savage 2002). As a member of the genus Nototriton, N. picadoi has 14 costal grooves (Savage 2002). Males have elongated premaxillary teeth. The eyes are of moderate size and paratoid glands are present and usually light colored. In adult males, there is an indistinct mental gland present that appears as a shield-shaped dark area on the throat behind the lower jaw (Bruce 1999). The front and hind feet are fully differentiated with rounded tips and sub-terminal pads (Savage 2002). Many hatchlings show external gill remnants. Hatchlings have a dark body color with metallic brassy flecking on the back of the head, trunk and tail (Bruce 1998).

Hatchlings average 7.9 mm in SVL (snout-vent length) and mature between 20 mm and 23 mm in SVL, with females being slightly larger than males. Some hatchlings have been noted to show remnants of external gills. (Bruce 1999).

Coloration: The overall body color is brown. Irregular dorsolateral light yellow stripes are present from the occipital region and groin along the back and flanks (Savage 2002).

Coloration in Tadpoles: Distinct patches of orange on the side of the head behind the eyes were observed. An orange stripe has been observed on the mid-dorsum. There are dorsolateral stripes absent of flecking and below these are areas of high flecking, which form a cream colored stripe (Bruce 1998).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Costa Rica


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
N. picadoi lives in the northern end of the Cordillera de Talamanca in cloud forest, Costa Rica, 1200–2200 m elevation (Savage 2002; Stuart et al. 2008) It is suggested that the species is arboreal, as it prefers wet, mossy areas, limbs of trees, shrubs and bromeliads (Bruce 1998; Savage 2002; Wake and Good 1993).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
N. picadoi is a direct developing species and one of only 3-4 genera of plethodontids where there is no observed nest guarding. (Bruce 1999; Stuart et al. 2008) Mating and egg laying occur during the wet season: May to December. However, the species may reproduce year round in areas where rainfall is sufficient during the dry season. Females lay several clutches throughout the season that consist of one to eleven eggs. Hatching occurs about 11-12 weeks after oviposition (Bruce 1999).

Trends and Threats
Although very common now, N. picadoi is threatened by the fragmentation and loss of their habitat due to increased agricultural work and grazing (Stuart et al. 2008).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Subtle changes to necessary specialized habitat
Habitat fragmentation

Species Authority: N. picadoi was originally described in 1911 by Stejneger as Spelerpes picadoi based on a specimen supplied by Claudomiro Picado. In 1926, the species was described by Dunn as Oedipus picadoi. (Good and Wake 1993)

Etymology: The species is named after Claudomiro Picado, who supplied the first observed specimen to Stejneger (Good and Wake 1993).

A Spanish-language species account can be found at the website of Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio).


Bruce, R. C. (1998). ''Nesting habits, eggs and hatchlings of the salamander Nototriton picadoi (Plethodontidae: Bolitoglossini).'' Herpetological Monographs, 54, 13-18.

Bruce, R. C. (1999). ''Life history attributes of a rare neotropical salamander, Nototriton picadoi (Plethodontidae: Bolitoglossini).'' Herpetological Review, 30, 76-78.

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.

Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica:a herpetofauna between two continents, between two seas. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, USA and London.

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: Brooke Bivens, Alycia Fratzke, Diana Kimbrough (first posted 2009-11-02)
Edited by: Mingna (Vicky) Zhuang (2012-02-23)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2012 Nototriton picadoi: La estrella (star) salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 4, 2022.

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

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