AmphibiaWeb - Oedipina capitalina
Oedipina capitalina
Cerro Grande worm Salamander
Subgenus: Oedipina
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
Species Description: Solis JM, Espinal MR, Valle RE, O'Reilly CM, Itgen MW, Townsend JH 2016 On the taxonomy of Oedpina stuarti (Caudata: Plethodotidae), with description of a new species from suburban Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Salamandra 42: 125-133.

© 2016 Michael W. Itgen (1 of 1)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Data Deficient (DD)
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Oedipina capitalina is a moderate-sized salamander described from five specimens, one male, two females, and two sub-adults. The male specimen, which is the holotype, has a snout to posterior of the vent length of 55.9 mm with the vent measuring 2.4 mm. The two adult females and two subadults have a snout to posterior vent length of 39.1 - 53.9 mm and a snout to anterior vent length of 37.5 – 51.9 mm. The species has a small head that is longer in length than width and narrower than the body. The snout appears truncated when viewed from above and rounded from the side. The labial protuberances are swollen. Nasolabial grooves are prominent, extending from the nostrils down to the upper lip. The nostrils are small and are positioned at the tip of the snout. The internarial distance from the exterior side is greater than the interorbial distance, however the distance between the interior side of the nostrils is less than the interorbital distance. The canthus rostralis is rounded. The eyes are not prominent but are visible from the ventral view beyond the line of the jaw. The interorbital distance is approximately equal to the eye to snout distance. The body and tail are long and slender. There are 19 costal grooves on all specimens. The limbs are short, with the forelimb being shorter than the hind limb, and spaced apart by approximately 12.5 costal grooves when adpressed along the body. The relative finger lengths are as follows: I < IV < II< III with fingers I - II and III - IV fused together. The relative toe lengths are: I < V < II < IV < III with toes I-II fused. There is an inconspicuous postiliac gland. The tail is rounded at its base and slightly laterally compressed towards its posterior half. The tail is notably longer than the body, with a snout-to-vent/tail length ratio of 0.69 (Solís et al. 2016).

Oedipina capitalina is most easily distinguishable from other Oedipina and similar salamanders by the number of its costal grooves, the number of maxillary teeth, and the number of vomerine teeth. Oedipina capitalina has 19 costal grooves, while O. elongata, O. gephyra, and O. tomasi all bear 18 costal grooves; O. petiole has 17, O. motaguae has 21, O. salvadorensis has 21 – 22, and O. tzutujilorum has 20. Oedipina nica has 19 - 20 costal grooves, but can be distinguished from O. capitalina by the number of teeth. Oedipina capitalina has 27 - 38 maxillary teeth while O. nica has between 41 - 48 maxillary teeth, O. koehleri has 36 – 44, O. motaguae has 13 – 19, O. salvadorensis has 13, and O. stuarti has 43 – 45 maxillary teeth. Maxillary teeth number also separates O. capitalina from all members of the Oedopinola subgenus. As for vomerine teeth, O. capitalina appears to have a relatively large number (20 – 24) in comparison to other Oedipina species, with O. ignea having 12 - 21, O. kasios having 10 - 15, O. leptopoda having 10 – 17, O. motaguae having 9 – 18, O. nica and O. stenopodia having 9 - 18, O. petiole having 10, O. stuarti having 17 – 19, O. taylori having 8, and O. tzutujilorum having 8 – 13. Oedipina capitalina can be more specifically differentiated from, O. stuarti by the former lacking glands that extend from the head to the tail and having dark pigmentation on the lower portion of the limbs (Solís et al. 2016).

In life, Oedipina capitalina has a hazel head and limbs and a darker greyish brown body and tail Tiny fleck-like white and blue iridophores cover the salamander on all surfaces, but are especially prominent on the dorsal surfaces of the head, body, and tail (Solís et al. 2016).

The five specimens of O. capitalina are all similar in coloration and body shape. However there was variation in the number of maxillary teeth (27 - 38 teeth), and number of vomerine teeth (20 - 24 teeth) (Solís et al. 2016).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Honduras


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
At the time of description, O. capitalina was only known from its type locality: a yard in a suburban area near a heavily degraded stream headwater close to the top of Cerro Grande at 1,220 m elevation. This site is in the middle of Departamento de Francisco Morazán, on the northern side of Tegucigalpa in the Choluteca Valley, Honduras. All five specimens were collected from under logs and plant debris in pre-montane dry forest formations that likely supported dry forest and pine-oak forest prior to degradation (Solís et al. 2016).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The holotype was collected on June 4, 2012; one adult female and two subadult paratypes were caught September 1, 2012; and one adult female paratype was caught June 13, 2014. All specimens were found at one type locality, during the day under dead vegetation and rotting logs in an urbanized, degraded forest, indicating they may be found in other, less degraded, localities (Solís et al. 2016).

Trends and Threats
At the time of the species description, all known specimens were collected from an urbanized, disturbed forest area, indicating this may be a refugial population and habitat destruction is a threat (Solís et al. 2016).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Habitat fragmentation

The species authority is: Solís, J., Espinal, M., Valle, R., O’Reilly, C., Itgen, M., Townsend, J. (2016). “On the taxonomy of Oedipina stuarti (Caudata: Plethodontidae), with description of a new species from suburban Tegucigalpa, Honduras.” Salamandra, 52(2): 125-133.

A limited genetic analysis supports preliminarily placing O. capitalina in a clade along with O. ignea, O. taylori, and O. stenopodia. Within this clade, O. capitalina, O. ignea, and O. stenopodia form a polytomy. This information was obtained by Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood analysis using 16S large subunit RNA and cytochrome b (Solís et al. 2016).

The specific name “capitalina” was chosen in reference to the closeness of O. capitalina’s type locality to the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa. The word “capitalina” is a local colloquialism referring to female residents of the capital city (Solís et al. 2016).

Though the specific name “capitalina” is a Honduran term for female residents of the capital, the holotype for this species is male (Solís et al. 2016).


Solís, J., Espinal, M., Valle, R., O’Reilly, C., Itgen, M., Townsend, J. (2016). ''On the taxonomy of Oedipina stuarti (Caudata: Plethodontidae), with description of a new species from suburban Tegucigalpa, Honduras.'' Salamandra, 52(2), 125-133. [link]

Originally submitted by: Robert Perrot (first posted 2018-12-12)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2018-12-12)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2018 Oedipina capitalina: Cerro Grande worm Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 14, 2021.

Feedback or comments about this page.


Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2021. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 14 May 2021.

AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.