Pseudoeurycea smithi (Taylor, 1939)
Smith's False Brook Salamander
|Species Description: Taylor EH. 1939 "1938". Concerning Mexican salamanders. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 25: 259–313.|
© 2015 Sean Michael Rovito (1 of 3)
Pseudoeurycea smithi is larger than almost all other members of its genus; only Pseudoeurycea papenfussi (maximum snout-vent length 89.4 mm) and P. gadovii (maximum snout-vent length 83.4 mm) are similar in size. Members of the genus Isthmura are larger but are black in color with striking patterns of red or orange paired dorsal spots of chevrons (Parra-Olea et al. 2005a), which are lacking in P. smithi. The bulging jaw muscles of P. smithi are also lacking in most other species of Pseudoeurycea, with the exceptions of P. papenfussi and P. aquatica (Parra-Olea et al. 2005; Wake and Campbell 2001). Pseudoeurycea smithi lacks the extremely well defined costal grooves and musculature of P. papenfussi and has shorter limbs as well (mean hind limb length 41% and 43% of snout-vent length in males and females, respective, of P. smithi vs. 49% and 48% in males and females of P. papenfussi) (Parra-Olea et al. 2005). Pseudoeurycea gadovii has paired pale yellowish spots along the dorsum that are lacking in P. smithi. Pseudoeurycea unguidentis, like P. smithi, is relatively large (maximum snout-vent length approximately 70 mm) and has bifid premaxillary teeth in males but has a narrower head and lacks the bulging jaw musculature seen in males of P. smithi (Taylor 1941). Pseudoeurycea aquatica, known from only one stream in the Sierra Mixe (to the southeast of the distribution of P. smithi) has feet with essentially no webbing and with longer, more slender digits compared to P. smithi; additionally, it is somewhat smaller (maximum snout-vent length 70 mm) and has a flap over the external nares (Wake and Campbell 2001). All other plethodontid salamanders in Mexico are smaller and most species approaching P. smithi in size have more extensive foot webbing.
The dorsum is dark brown to dark grayish-brown, with irregular reddish-brown blotches present in some individuals; coloration can be somewhat lighter on tail compared to body. The sides of the body are greyish olive-brown with blackish bars along costal grooves, with greyish flecks sometimes present. The venter is greyish to cream with dark bars following costal grooves in some specimens (Taylor “1938” 1939; Taylor 1941; S Rovito pers comm.; Parra-Olea et al. 2005b).
This species is sexually dimorphic, with males having more robust jaw musculature and larger premaxillary teeth compared to females as well as a large, prominent mental gland. Females apparently reach a larger maximum size compared to males (88 mm vs. 76 mm snout-vent length). Both hind and forelimbs are slightly longer in males than in females (Taylor “1938” 1939; Canseco-Márquez and Gutiérrez-Mayén 2005; S. Rovito pers. comm.).
Distribution and Habitat
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Trends and Threats
Relation to Humans
The genus name is formed by the Latin "Pseudo," meaning "false," and "Eurycea," a genus of North American plethodontid salamanders.
The species epithet is in honor of Hobart M. Smith (1912–2013), in recognition of his many contributions to Mexican Herpetology. Dr. Smith collected the type series of this species on Cerro San Felipe, Oaxaca. Although this species was described in 1939, Dr. Smith continued to make major contributions to Mexican herpetology for many years after it was described.
Cheng, T.L., Rovito, S.M., Wake, D.B., Vredenburg, VT. (2011). Coincident mass extirpation of neotropical amphibians with the emergence of the infectious fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108, 9502–9507. [link]
Darda, D. (1994). Allozyme variation and morphological evolution among Mexican salamanders of the genus Chiropterotriton (Caudata: Plethodontidae). Herpetologica 50, 164–187. [link]
Hanken, J., Wake, DB. (1994). Five new species of minute salamanders, genus Thorius (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from northern Oaxaca, Mexico. Copeia 1994, 574–590. [link]
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2020). Pseudoeurycea smithi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020. e.T59397A53984367. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-2.RLTS.T59397A53984367.en. Accessed on 12 June 2023.
Parra-Olea, G., García-París, M., Wake, D.B. (1999). Status of some populations of Mexican salamanders (Amphibia: Plethodontidae). Revista de Biología Tropical 47, 217–223. [link]
Parra-Olea, G. (2002). Molecular phylogenetic relationships of neotropical salamanders of the genus Pseudoeurycea. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 22(2), 234–246. [link]
Parra-Olea, G., García-París, M., Papenfuss, T.J., Wake, D.B. (2005). Systematics of the Pseudoeurycea bellii (Caudata: Plethodontidae) species complex. Herpetologica 61(2), 145–158. [link]
Parra-Olea, G., García París, M., Hanken, J., Wake, D.B. (2005). Two new species of Pseudoeurycea (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from the mountains of northern Oaxaca. Copeia 2005(3), 461–469. [link]
Parra-Olea, G., Rovito, S.M., García-París, M., Maisano, J.A., Wake, D.B., Hanken, J. (2016). Biology of tiny animals: three new species of minute salamanders (Plethodontidae: Thorius) from Oaxaca, Mexico. PeerJ 4, e2694. [link]
Rovito, S.M., Parra-Olea, G., Vásquez-Almazán, C.R., Papenfuss, T.J., Wake, D.B. (2009). Dramatic declines in Neotropical salamander populations are an important part of the global amphibian crisis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106(9), 3231–3236. [link]
Rovito, S.M., Parra-Olea, G., Recuero, E., Wake, D.B. (2015). Diversification and biogeographic history of Neotropical plethodontid salamanders. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 175(1), 167–188. [link]
Taylor, E.H. (1939 "1938"). Concerning Mexican salamanders. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 25, 259–313. [link]
Taylor, E.H. (1941). New plethodont salamanders from Mexico. Herpetologica 2(3), 57–65. [link]
Wake, D.B., Campbell, J.A. (2001). An aquatic plethodontid salamander from Oaxaca, Mexico. Herpetologica 57(4), 509–514. [link]
Originally submitted by: Sean M. Rovito (2023-06-15)
Description by: Sean M. Rovito (updated 2023-06-15)
Distribution by: Sean M. Rovito (updated 2023-06-15)
Life history by: Sean M. Rovito (updated 2023-06-15)
Larva by: Sean M. Rovito (updated 2023-06-15)
Trends and threats by: Sean M. Rovito (updated 2023-06-15)
Relation to humans by: Sean M. Rovito (updated 2023-06-15)
Comments by: Sean M. Rovito (updated 2023-06-15)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang, Michelle S. Koo (2023-07-05)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2023 Pseudoeurycea smithi: Smith's False Brook Salamander <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/4190> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Dec 6, 2023.
Feedback or comments about this page.
Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 6 Dec 2023.
AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.