Pseudoeurycea ruficauda is a medium-sized arboreal tropical salamander from Oaxaca, Mexico with long legs and widely splayed hands and feet with long separated digits. Along with the previous characters, its vivid coloration sets it apart from other congeners: red-orange tail and mottled black and orange head and body; an irregular and often discontinuous dorsal stripe that varies from tan-yellow to orange to reddish-brown extends from nape to tip of tail. Flanking black bands run from the scapular region to the base of the tail where they are broken into isolated spots dispersed over the tail. In many specimens there is a V-shaped mark on the head, beginning on upper eyelids with apex pointed posteriorly. P. ruficauda has a less robust body relative to its congeners and closest relative, P. unguidentis (Taylor, 1941), with slender legs and tail, and a prominent head which is differentiated from the trunk (i.e. a distinctive “neck”). Live specimens are also jumpy and tend to behave like P. saltator. Subadults range from 23.7-30.2 mm SVL, but adults may reach up to 45 mm. Members have a large, anteriorly directed eyes that protrude beyond the silhouette of the head. Nostrils are small, widely separated; head width ranges from 4.2-5 mm. Costal grooves are 13. Tail tapers to a narrow tip. Legs are long and usually overlap by 1-1.5 costal folds when adpressed. Fifth toe is well developed but noticeably shorter than the fourth. Teeth relatively numerous: premaxillary 5-8, maxillary 27-49, and vomerine 11-16.
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Mexico
This species is known from two general localities in the western portion of the Sierra Mazateca, Oaxaca. Both localities lie within high elevation, moist, pine-oak forest, with oaks dominating at present. Found under logs and bark. Two were found in bromeliads 2 m above ground.
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Parra-Olea, G., García-París, M., Hanken, J., and Wake, D.B. (2004). ''A new species of arboreal salamander (Caudata: Plethodontidae: Pseudoeurycea) from the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico.'' Journal of Natural History, 38, 2119-2131.
Written by Raul E. Diaz (lissamphibia AT gmail.com), AWeb team
First submitted 2004-08-27
Edited by Tate Tunstall (2004-09-01)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2004 Pseudoeurycea ruficauda: Orange-tailed Agile Salamander <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/6276> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jan 18, 2021.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2021. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 18 Jan 2021.
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