Thorius tlaxiacus Parra-Olea, Rovito, García-París, Maisano, Wake & Hanken, 2016
Heroic Minute Salamander
|Species Description: Parra-Olea G, Rovito SM, Garcia-Paris M, Maisano JA, Wake DB, Hanken J 2016 Biology of tiny animals: three new species of minute salamanders (Plethodontidae: Thorius) from Oaxaca, Mexico. PeerJ 4:e2694; DOI 10.7717/peerj.2694|
© 2018 Sean Michael Rovito (1 of 7)
Thorius tlaxiacus is larger than most other members of its genus. Another way they differ from species in the genus is that they have more “extremely distorted” nostrils than similar species, only sharing that trait with T. pulmonaris (Parra-Olea et al. 2016).
In life, T. tlaxiacus has an extremely dark brown background color on their head, body, and tail, with minute white speckling all over the lateral regions, most notably on their neck and forelimb insertions. The speckling continues on to their gray abdomens, but is less concentrated than the previously mentioned areas. This species also has a prominent dark-brown dorsal stripe that branches off of a chestnut-colored spot on the back of their neck and reaches down to their mid-tail (Parra-Olea et al. 2016).
In preservative, T. tlaxiacus is similarly colored as it is in life, but is slightly lighter in all-over color. The spot at the beginning of their prominent dorsal stripe is golden, not chestnut-colored and meets up with chevron markings halfway down its length (Parra-Olea et al. 2016).
Adult male and female T. tlaxiacus are similar in body size and head width, with males of the species being slightly larger on average by a margin of 0.3 mm for both factors. Males also have a distinct, large mental gland and more premaxillary teeth than their female counterparts. On the other hand, female T. tlaxiacus have more vomerine teeth, more costal grooves between adpressed limbs, and a slightly larger standard length to tail length ratio (Parra-Olea et al. 2016).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Mexico
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Thorius tlaxiacus shares its habitat with T. narisovalis in Heroica Ciudad de Tlaxiaco and T. longicaudus in San Vicente Lachixio. Pseudoeurycea cochranae and P. anitae can also be found in San Vincente Lachixio (Parra-Olea et al. 2016).
Like all plethodontid salamanders, T. tlaxiacus, breeds on land, in a process referred to as direct development (IUCN 2020). The salamanders hatch as miniature versions of the adult as opposed to going through a larval stage and then metamorphosing.
Trends and Threats
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
The phylogenetic relationships of Thorius is poorly resolved, however, analyses on mitochondrial and nuclear gene DNA sequences indicate that Oaxacan Thorius form a well-supported clade (Parra-Olea et al. 2016).
ETYMOLOGY: (Origin or explanation of scientific name):
The species epithet, “tlaxiacus” is a reference to where the holotype was found, Heroica Ciudad de Tlaxiaco. The city was also an important regional center during the colonial period of Mexico (Parra-Olea et al. 2016).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2020). "Thorius tlaxiacus." The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T119243882A119243892. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-2.RLTS.T119243882A119243892.en. Accessed on 22 February 2022.
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]
Originally submitted by: Bruce Markman, Erin Klausen, Mona Broukhim (2022-04-12)
Description by: Bruce Markman, Erin Klausen, Mona Broukhim (updated 2022-04-12)
Distribution by: Bruce Markman, Erin Klausen, Mona Broukhim (updated 2022-04-12)
Life history by: Bruce Markman, Erin Klausen, Mona Broukhim (updated 2022-04-12)
Trends and threats by: Bruce Markman, Erin Klausen, Mona Broukhim (updated 2022-04-12)
Comments by: Bruce Markman, Erin Klausen, Mona Broukhim (updated 2022-04-12)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2022-04-12)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Thorius tlaxiacus: Heroic Minute Salamander <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/8531> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 30, 2023.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 30 May 2023.
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