AmphibiaWeb - Oedipina pacificensis


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Oedipina pacificensis Taylor, 1952

Subgenus: Oedipina
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Oedipina
Species Description: Cope, E. D. (1893). "Second addition to the knowledge of the Batrachia and Reptilia of Costa Rica." Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 31, 333–347.
Oedipina pacificensis
© 2009 Vide Ohlin (1 of 18)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None
conservation needs Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .


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Diagnosis: The species cannot be distinguished from O. gracilis and O. uniformis morphologically, but major differences are recognized genetically. Moderately sized grayish-black salamander (adults 108 to 175 mm TL) with a very long tail (64 to 72% of TL). The head is moderately broad and the snout is bluntly rounded. Maxillary teeth 32 to 43 in count. This species has short legs with tiny hands and feet. Costal grooves number 19 to 20 (Savage 2002).

Description:Oedipina pacificensis is a worm salamander of the family Plethodontidae (the "lungless salamanders"). The body is extremely slender and elongate with short limbs and tiny hands and feet (Savage 2002). Hands and feet are syndactylous with four toes on forelimbs and five toes on hindlimbs. The tail is very long (64% to 72% of total length) (Savage 2002). The snout-vent length of an adult male is generally 26 to 48 mm and adult females are 39 to 51 mm in standard length (Savage 2002). Adults are 108 to 175 mm in total length (Savage 2002). Salamanders of this species have 19 to 20 costal grooves on the sides of its bodies (Savage 2002). This species has a moderately broad head with a bluntly rounded snout (Savage 2002). A sublingual fold is present (Savage 2002). There are 32 to 43 maxillary teeth present and 20 to 26 vomerine teeth (Savage 2002). Oedipina pacificensis is grayish-black in color, often with a whitish area near limb insertions or joints (Savage 2002). This species also has white post-ocular stripes (Taylor 1952). It cannot be distinguished morphologically from O. gracilis and O. uniformis, but there are major genetic differences for O. pacificensis (Good and Wake 1997).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Costa Rica

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Oedipina pacificensis is found in the humid lowlands on the Pacific slope of southern Costa Rica and in a small area of adjacent southwestern Panama at an altitudinal range of 5-1200 m asl (Bolaños et al. 2009). This species is primarily fossorial and is commonly found in leaf litter usually around tree buttresses and along road cuts between very wet moss or beneath rotting logs in forested areas (Brame 1968).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Oedipina pacificensis is a leaf-litter dweller and is found near tree buttresses. It breeds by direct development and does not require water for breeding. It tolerates disturbed habitats and is often found in old plantations (Bolaños et al. 2009).

Trends and Threats
This species is common with a stable population trend. There may be some evidence to suggest that Oedipina pacificensis is threatened by habitat destruction, but this species generally faces few threats. It occurs in several protected areas: Manuel Antonio, Carara, and Corcovado Golfito National Parks in Costa Rica. None of its habitat is protected in Panama (Bolaños et al. 2009).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss

This species was first described by Taylor (1952), but was then subsumed by Brame (1968) into O. uniformis. Subsequently, Good and Wake (1997) described O. uniformis genetic differentiation and recognized O. pacificensis as a cryptic species.

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


Bolaños, F., Chaves, G., Savage, J., Wake, D., and Ibáñez, R. (2008). Oedipina pacificensis. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. Downloaded on 07 April 2010.

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

Good, D. A., and Wake, D. B. (1997). ''Phylogenetic and taxonomic implications of protein variation in the Mesoamerican salamander genus Oedipina (Caudata: Plethodontidae).'' Revista de Biología Tropical, 45(3), 1185-1208.

Laurencio, D., and Malone, J. H. (2009). ''The amphibians of Parque Nacional Carara, a transitional herpetofaunal assemblage in Costa Rica.'' Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 4(1), 120-131.

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.

Taylor, E.H. (1952). "A review of the frogs and toads of Costa Rica." University of Kansas Science Bulletin, 35(5), 577-942.

Originally submitted by: Christine Isabel Javier (first posted 2009-11-04)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2022-04-12)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Oedipina pacificensis <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 20, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 20 Jul 2024.

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