AmphibiaWeb - Oedipina koehleri
Oedipina koehleri Sunyer, Townsend, Wake, Travers, Gonzalez, Obando & Quintana, 2011

Subgenus: Oedipina
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Oedipina
Species Description: Sunyer J, Townsend JH, Wake DB, Travers SL, Gonzalez SC, Obando LA, Quintana AZ 2011 A new cryptic species of salamander, genus Oedipina (Caudata: Plethodontidae), from premontane elevations in northern Nicaragua, with comments on the systematic status of the Nicaraguan paratypes of O. pseudouniformis Brame, 1968. Breviora 526:1-16.

© 2012 Javier Sunyer (1 of 1)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Vulnerable (VU)
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Oedipina koehleri is a slender and moderately sized lungless salamander with a male snout-vent length ranging from 39.3 - 48.0 mm and a female range between 40.7 - 50.4 mm. Its tail is significantly longer than the body and head, 1.6 - 2.4 times longer than the snout to vent length. Both sexes have a narrow and rounded snout with a snout that is around 1.6 mm long and 4.4 mm wide, and with nasolabial grooves present. Males have an average of 38 maxillary teeth and 20.5 vomerine teeth. Females have an average of 39.8 maxillary teeth and 22.2 vomerine teeth. Oedipina koehleri has 13 costal grooves, and an average of 11.3 costal grooves between the fore- and hind limbs when they are adpressed towards each other. Its hind limbs average length is 7.28 mm in males and 7.36 in females, and the digits are distinctly rounded and partially fused. Males have mental glands at the back of the mandible and small papillae at the back of the vent. Females lack both of these but have folded margins of the vent (Sunyer et al. 2011).

Oedipina koehleri is best distinguished from Oedipina pseudouniformis, its closest related species, by having an fewer maxillary teeth and vomerine teeth in males. Oedipina koehleri can be distinguished from another close relative, Oedipina cyclocauda, because O. koehleri has a broader head, rounder snout, and slightly longer legs. It can be found in sympatry with Oedipina nica, and can be distinguished from this species by coloration as well as O. koehleri being slightly more robust with slightly shorter limbs. It can be distinguished from another species in its area, O. collaris, because O. koehleri is significantly smaller with a more rounded snout (Sunyer et al. 2011).

In life, O. koehleri is predominantly black in color with some white or blue speckles throughout its body and brown coloration on the dorsal surface of the proximal segment of all limbs. In alcohol preservation, it is still predominantly black with slightly paler patches on the dorsal surface of the head, tip of the tail, and ventral surface of the body, significantly paler patches on the chin and throat, and no pigmentation on the edge of the gular fold and the center of each costal groove (Sunyer et al. 2011).

Variation among known specimens is minimal. The only notable variation is that females are slightly longer and have slightly more teeth than males (Sunyer et al. 2011).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Nicaragua


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Oedipina koehleri is found in northern Nicaragua at elevations ranging from 600 - 945 m (Sunyer et al. 2011). As with other species in the genus O. koehleri is found in broadleaf rainforests (Brame 1968).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Oedipina koehleri is a diurnal, fossorial species. It is rare and only found in specific, high elevation areas of northern Nicaragua, specifically Atlántico Norte and Matagalpa. It has been found under logs, rocks, leaf litter, or other structures that create areas of high moisture (Brame 1968, Sunyer et al. 2011).

When caught by a predator or presumed threat, O. koehleri will drop its tail to later regrow it, as other neotropical salamanders do (Brinkman et al. 2016).

Trends and Threats
Oedipina koehleri is threatened by habitat loss due to the highly anthropogenic uses, mainly for agriculture, of the limited high altitude areas where it can be found (Sunyer et al. 2011).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Subtle changes to necessary specialized habitat


Bayesian Inference and Maximum Likelihood of of cytochrome b gene indicate that O. koehleri is the sister taxon to the clade containing O. pseudouniformis and O. cyclocauda. It was previously thought to be part of O. pseudouniformis (Sunyer et al. 2011).

The specific epithet “koehleri” is a patronym for herpetologist Gunther Kӧhler in honor of his contributions to herpetology in Central America, specifically Nicaragua where O. koehleri is found (Sunyer et al. 2011).

Oedipina koehleri was previously referred to as O. pseudouniformis until it was found to be genetically distinct (Sunyer 2014).


Brame, A. H., Jr. (1968). "Systematics and evolution of the Mesoamerican salamander genus Oedipina." Journal of Herpetology, 2, 1-64. [link]

Brinkman, L C., Ray, J. M., Mathis, A., Greene, B. D. (2016). “Filling in the gaps: natural history and conservation of bolitoglossine salamanders in central Panama.” Copeia, 104, 140–148. [link]

Sunyer, J. (2014). “An updated checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Nicaragua.” Mesoamerican Herpetology, 1, 186–202. [link]

Sunyer, J., Townsend, J. H., Wake, D. B., Travers, S. L., Gonzales, S. C., Obando, L. A., Quintana, A. Z. (2011). “A new cryptic species of salamander, genus Oedipina (Caudata: Plethodontidae), from premontane elevations in northern Nicaragua, with comments on the systematic status of the Nicaraguan paratypes of O. pseudouniformis Brame, 1968.” Breviora Museum of Comparative Zoology, 526, 1-16. [link]

Originally submitted by: Emily Morton (2022-03-02)
Description by: Emily Morton (updated 2022-03-02)
Distribution by: Emily Morton (updated 2022-03-02)
Life history by: Emily Morton (updated 2022-03-02)
Trends and threats by: Emily Morton (updated 2022-03-02)
Comments by: Emily Morton (updated 2022-03-02)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2022-03-02)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Oedipina koehleri <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jan 30, 2023.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 30 Jan 2023.

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