AMPHIBIAWEB
Bolitoglossa longissima
Salamandra del Pico Picucha, del Pico Picucha Salamander
Subgenus: Magnadigita
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae

© 2018 Franklin Castaneda (1 of 1)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Critically Endangered (CR)
CITES No CITES Listing
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None

 

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Description
Bolitoglossa longissima is a relatively large salamander that is part of the Bolitoglossa dunni group. Two male specimens had snout vent lengths of 45.7 and 48.2. The female snout-vent length range is 51.0 – 61.1 mm. Females have a more robust body than males. The head is longer than wide. From the dorsal view, the snout is truncate to rounded and from a side view, the snout is broadly rounded. The snout extends slightly beyond the jaw. The distance from the nostril to the eye is larger than the distance between the eyes. The eyes protrude slightly and in males are somewhat visible in the ventral view but may be completely hidden in females. A shallow, irregular groove extends posteriorly from the eye then turns sharply towards the ventrum and connects to the gular fold. Another irregular groove crosses the throat, anteriorly to the gular fold, connecting the posterior ends of the mandible. Adult males have an oval-shaped mental gland (McCranie and Cruz 1996, McCranie 2006).

Adult males have 71 - 81 maxillary teeth, while females have 70 - 76 maxillary teeth. In both males and females, there are 29 - 36 vomerine teeth in a long, arched series. Males have two premaxillary teeth; in females, the number of premaxillary teeth ranges from 5 - 9. Females have premaxillary teeth in line with the maxillary teeth, while males have larger premaxillary teeth that pierce the lip (McCranie and Cruz 1996, McCranie 2006).

The species has 13 costal grooves. The limbs are long, with hindlimb lengths equivalent to 31.9 – 32.4% of the snout-vent length. When adpressed, the limbs overlap by three costal grooves in males and by one to three costal grooves in females. The feet are relatively wide with reduced webbing; on both forelimbs and hindlimbs, two phalanges on both sides of digit III have no webbing. The relative digit length of the forelimbs is I < IV = II < III and the hindlimb relative digit length is I < V < II < IV < III. The tail is long, equivalent to 80.9 - 91.3% of the snout-vent length. The tail base is highly constricted and vertically flattened, with the cross-section of the distal portion of the tail becoming more oval in shape (McCranie and Cruz 1996, McCranie 2006).

Bolitoglossa longissima is different than other species in the Bolitoglossa dunni group because of its reduced webbing, long limbs, and dorsal coloration. When adpressed, the forelimbs and hindlimbs in B. longissima significantly overlap, differentiating it from all other species of the B. dunni group. Two other described members of the B. dunni group, B. rostrata and B. celaque, also have reduced webbing, but B. longissima is differentiated from these species by its coloration (McCranie and Cruz 1996).

All other Bolitoglossa species have more webbing and do not have the well-developed subdigital pads that B. longissima possesses. Moreover, B. longissima has rounded toe tips, whereas other Bolitoglossa species have more pointed toe tips (McCranie and Cruz 1996).

A female in life was described as having a dark brownish-olive back and sides, with darker costal grooves. The ventral aspect was brown-gray. The chin was a pale yellow-brown, the irises were gold, and the tail was brick red. Juveniles had similar coloring to the female, except that the tails were more orange (McCranie and Wilson 2002).

In alcohol, the dorsal color is medium to dark brown with no noticeable markings. The side of the body is slightly paler, except for the dark costal grooves. The ventrum of the body and subcaudal region of the tail is pale brown with many dark brown flecks (McCranie and Cruz 1996, McCranie 2006).

There are several morphological features that are sexually dimorphic in this species. Males tend to have a more slender body than females. The males' eyes can protruded more in the ventral view than the females' eyes. There is also sexual dimorphism in premaxillary teeth; in females, the premaxillary teeth are behind the lip, while in males, the premaxillary teeth pierce the lip. Males also have a prominent labial protuberance, whereas in females it is less pronounced. Lastly, the females' limbs can overlap less than males when the limbs are adpressed to the body (McCranie and Cruz 1996).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Honduras

 

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Bolitoglossa longissima has only been found in Pico La Picucha from the Sierra de Agalta mountain range in Olancho, in east-central Honduras. The species is found in the lower montane forest formations of the Agalta’s primary cloud forest, with a known elevational range of 1840 - 2240 meters (McCranie 2006, Cruz et al. 2008). The cloud forest is characterized by fog and rainfall in excess of 1500 mm per year (Wilson and McCranie 2003). Bolitoglossa longissima is primarily an arboreal forest inhabitant, rather than a terrestrial, streamside, or pondside inhabitant (Cruz et al. 2008).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
This species is known to live far from sources of freshwater. Their long limbs, well-developed sub-digital pads, rounded toe-tips, and minimal toe webbing is indicative of their arboreal lifestyle and their removal from aquatic life. Adults and juveniles spend the majority of their time in bromeliads just above the ground or hidden beneath moss patches (McCranie and Cruz 1996).

Specimens have been found at over 2200 m in elevation, in locations where no other species of salamander has been known to occur. The difficulty of accessing this habitat has impacted the study of B. longissima, so very little is known about their reproductive cycles or behaviors (McCranie and Cruz 1996). However, B. longissima has direct development, and their known usage of bromeliads as habitat and their removal from freshwater sources allude to the likelihood that the species lays their eggs within the small collections of water in these near-ground plants (McCranie and Wilson 2002).

Adult males have oval-shaped mental glands that are presumably used to stimulate chemoreception in females for mating, much like similar species (McCranie and Wilson 2002).

Trends and Threats
Bolitoglossa longissima is listed on the IUCN Red List as “Critically Endangered” because it is narrowly endemic, only known from one or very few population, and experiencing a loss of habitat extent and quality. It is primarily threatened by habitat loss due to the land-use conversion from rainforest to coffee plantations and land subsistence use. Other threats include prolonged dry seasons and a shortened fire return interval. Although, this species is found in the Parque Nacional Sierra de Agalta, a protected area, the population is exhibiting a decreasing population trend due to the above factors (Cruz et al. 2008).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Habitat fragmentation

Comments
The species authority is: McCranie, J.R., Cruz, G.A. (1996). “A new species of salamander of the Bolitoglossa dunni group (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from the Sierra de Agalta, Honduras.” Caribbean Journal of Science, 32(2): 195-200

Many species in the B. dunni group are not well-studied, so the exact phylogenetic relationships of species can be difficult to deterimine (McCranie and Cruz 1996). However, a recent large-scale amphibian molecular analysis suggests that the most closely related species to B. longissima are B. porassorum and B. decora, which share a similar arboreal/terrestrial lifestyle to B. longissima in tropical and subtropical montane forests (Pyron and Weins 2011).

The species epithet, “longissima”, meaning “longest” in Latin, is in reference to the unusually long limbs of the species in comparison to others within the B. dunni group (McCranie and Cruz 1996, McCranie 2006).

References

Cruz, G., Wilson, L.D., McCranie, R., Castañeda, F. (2008). ''Bolitoglossa longissima.'' The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008:e.T59174A11893694. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T59174A11893694.en. Downloaded on 19 February 2018.

McCranie, J. R., and Wilson, L. D. (2002). ''The Amphibians of Honduras.'' Contributions to Herpetology, Vol 19. K. Adler and T. D. Perry, eds., Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York.

McCranie, J.R. (2006). ''Bolitoglossa longissima .'' Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles , 822, 1-3.

McCranie, J.R., Cruz, G.A. (1996). ''A new species of salamander of the Bolitoglossa dunni group (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from the Sierra de Agalta, Honduras.'' Caribbean Journal of Science, 32(2), 195-200.

Pyron, R.A., Wiens, J. (2011). ''A large-scale phylogeny of Amphibia including over 2800 species, and a revised classification of extant frogs, salamanders, and caecilians.'' Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 61(2), 543-583.

Wilson, L.D., and J.R. McCranie (2003). ''Conservation status of the herpetofauna of Honduras.'' Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, 3(1), 6-33.



Written by Amber Lukk, Arin Phillips, Adam Humphrey (aklukk AT ucdavis.edu, aphillips AT ucdavis.edu, achumphrey AT ucdavis.edu), University of California Davis
First submitted 2018-07-13
Edited by Ann T. Chang (2018-07-13)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2018 Bolitoglossa longissima: Salamandra del Pico Picucha <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/5342> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Nov 16, 2018.



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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2018. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 16 Nov 2018.

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