Pseudoeurycea aquatica

Subgenus: Pseudoeurycea
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Critically Endangered (CR)
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Pseudoeurycea aquatica is moderately large sized (68.4-70.5mm) and its features are specialized for aquatic life. The head is broad and triangular-shaped. The snout is bluntly pointed (with a 70mm posterior vent) and the eyes are small. Remarkably, the nostrils are external but closed due to flap-like structures. The adductor and depressor muscles of the jaw are slightly enlarged and very strong. The mouth holds few but large maxillary teeth. The tail is long, slender, and marked by a constriction at its base. Similarly, the limbs are very long. There are four unwebbed and well-formed digits, plus a prominent but short fifth toe (Wake and Campbell 2001).

Dorsal coloring is reddish brown with distinct mottling that is heavily dark brown. Upper eyelids are lighter in color and sparsely spotted. Slight color intensity variations exist. Females are darkly colored compared to males (Wake and Campbell 2001).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Mexico


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It is found on the northern mountain slopes of Oaxaca. Generally, lives in streams at 2103m, near cloud forest. It is most often found resting at the bottom of plunge pools (Wake and Campbell 2001).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Uniquely aquatic as adults with slow terrestrial movement. The Pseudoeurycea aquatica shows nocturnal behavior throughout life (Wake and Campbell 2001).

Trends and Threats
Possible extinction dates back to two decades ago. Clearing of forestry and the resulting degradation of streams due to burned debris has led to a disappearance of Pseudoeurycea aquatica in the Río La Lana (Wake and Campbell 2001).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities

Among the Bolitoglossini, Pseudoeurycea aquatica is the only aquatic species. It shares similar morphology with Pseudoeurycea smithi (Wake and Campbell 2001).


Wake, D. B. and Campbell, J. A. (2001). ''An aquatic Plethodontid salamander from Oaxaca, Mexico.'' Herpetologica, 57(4), 509-514.

Written by Michelle Iwaki (miwaki AT, AmphibiaWeb URAP
First submitted 2004-02-18
Edited by TateTunstall (2004-03-02)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2004 Pseudoeurycea aquatica <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Mar 22, 2018.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2018. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 22 Mar 2018.

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