AmphibiaWeb - Oedipina salvadorensis
Oedipina salvadorensis Rand, 1952
Salvador Worm Salamander
Subgenus: Oedipina
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Oedipina
Species Description: Revalidation of Rand (1952), removed from synonymy with O. taylori by Brodie ED Jr, Acevedo M, Campbell JA 2012 New salamanders of the genus Oedipina (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from Guatemala. J Herpetology 46: 233-240.

© 2015 Stanley Morán (1 of 1)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Endangered (EN)
National Status None
Regional Status None
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Oedipina salvadorensis, or the Salvador worm salamander was described from three specimens (Rand 1957). They have a snout-vent length range 32.5 - 38.7 mm, and a tail length range of 19.0 - 39.0 mm. The head is longer than wide (Brodie et al. 2012). The snout is flat, ovular, and longer than its eye. Its upper jaw protrudes further than the lower jaw (Rand 1957). This species has 7 - 13 premaxillary/maxillary teeth and 6 - 18 vomerine teeth (Brodie et al 2012). The eyes are large. Oedipina salvadorensis has an elongate body shape with 19 - 22 costal grooves. The limbs, when adpressed towards each other along the body, are separated by 12 - 13 coastal folds (Rand 1957, Brodie et al. 2012, Solís et al. 2016). The forelimb is slightly longer than the hind limb. The Salvador Worm Salamander has webbed fingers and toes except for its middle two fingers and three toes. There is a small, circular postiliac gland. The tail doesn’t exhibit basal constriction (Rand 1957).

Oedpina salvadorensis is similar to Oedipna taylori and synonomyized with O. tayori from 1960 to 2012. However, O. salvadorensis has 7 - 13 premaxillary/maxillary teeth, 6 - 18 vomerine teeth, and has a geographic range that is 100 - 120 kilometers away from O. taylori. Oedipna taylori, on the other hand, have no maxillary teeth, only 5 vomerine teeth, and a larger, oval postiliac gland. The postiliac gland in O. salvadorensis is smaller and more circular (Brodie et al. 2012). Rand (1957) also mentions that O. taylori has shorter limbs with 15 costal folds between adpressed limbs vs O. salvadorensis’s 13 folds.

In life, the dorsal side of O. salvadorensis is mainly black with a slightly lighter on the ventral side giving the species an overall brownish tint. There is a white spot behind the hind leg and the top limbs are also a slightly lighter color than the bottom limbs (Rand 1957).

The specimens of O. salvadorensis are similar with regards to color and structure (Rand 1957).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: El Salvador


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
The Salvador worm salamander resides in El Salvador, specifically near San Salvador and La Libertad. Oedpina salvadorensis inhabits forest, subtropical, terrestrial, and artificial habitats. These locations vary in elevation from 5 to 1,140 meters (IUCN 2020).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Not much is known about the specific habitat of O. salvadorensis, but they were initially found under half-buried rocks in a pasture at the bottom of a gully (Rand 1957).

Trends and Threats
The population trend of O. salvadorensis is currently decreasing. This declining trend is due to a multitude of reasons: the ongoing habitat destruction from both natural disasters (fires specifically) and human developments (residential and commercial), human depletion of their essential resources, “hunting and trapping” of the species itself, as well as pollution from sewage runoff and harmful agricultural pesticides. However, the species has been found in human-modified environments such as coffee plantations, rural gardens, and urban gardens and lawns ornaments (IUCN 2020).

Relation to Humans
Despite being non-venomous, local humans of El Salvador believe the species to be harmful and poisonous (IUCN 2020).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Local pesticides, fertilizers, and pollutants
Intentional mortality (over-harvesting, pet trade or collecting)


The description of Oedipina salvadorensis was published 11 days after the descriptions O. ignea and O. taylori in 1952. In 1960, Brame concluded that they all be listed under O. taylori. It wasn’t until 2012 that Brodie et al. reexamined the specimens and, based on morphological data, removed them from synonymy (Brodie et al. 2012).


Brodie, E.D. Jr., Acevedo, M., Campbell, J.A. (2012). "New salamanders of the genus Oedipina (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from Guatemala." Journal of Herpetology, 46(2), 233-240. [link]

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2020). "Oedipina salvadorensis." The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T51147304A51147435. Accessed 24 February 2022

Rand, A. S. (1957). “Notes on amphibians and reptiles from El Salvador.” Fieldiana Zoology, 34(42), 505–534. [link]

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: Noelle Tran, Priscilla Nguyen, Kelly Wang (2022-05-19)
Description by: Noelle Tran, Priscilla Nguyen, Kelly Wang (updated 2022-05-19)
Distribution by: Noelle Tran, Priscilla Nguyen, Kelly Wang (updated 2022-05-19)
Life history by: Noelle Tran, Priscilla Nguyen, Kelly Wang (updated 2022-05-19)
Trends and threats by: Noelle Tran, Priscilla Nguyen, Kelly Wang (updated 2022-05-19)
Relation to humans by: Noelle Tran, Priscilla Nguyen, Kelly Wang (updated 2022-05-19)
Comments by: Noelle Tran, Priscilla Nguyen, Kelly Wang (updated 2022-05-19)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2022-05-19)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Oedipina salvadorensis: Salvador Worm Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Mar 30, 2023.

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

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