AmphibiaWeb - Chiropterotriton infernalis


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Chiropterotriton infernalis Rovito & Parra-Olea, 2015
Sistema Purificacion Salamander; Salamandra del Sistema Purification
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Chiropterotriton
Species Description: Rovito SM, Parra-Olea G 2015 Two new species of Chiropterotriton (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from northern Mexico. Zootaxa 4048: 57-74.

© 2019 M. Delia Basanta (1 of 5)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Chiropterotriton infernalis is a cave-dwelling salamander in the Plethodontidae family described from eight males and one female. The adult snout-vent length range is 38.0 - 41.6 mm. The head is flat, large, and wide with a blunt snout. The nostrils are small and oval shaped with a blunt snout. Nasolabial protuberances are present and well developed in addition to oval shaped mental glands. The protruding eyes sit just beyond the margin of the jaw when viewed dorsally. Three premaxillary teeth pierce the lip, twenty-one vomerine teeth are arranged in a row extending almost to the extent of the outer margins of choanae, and approximately fifty-three maxillary teeth fill the remainder of the jaw. The species typically has a short trunk with an elongated, thin tail which tapers to a rounded end. The limbs are long with the hands and feet being bulky, wide, and webbed. The terminal and part of penultimate phalanges of the third toe extend out of the webbing on the hands and feet. The toe tips are rounded with really developed subterminal pads (Rovito and Parra-Olea 2015).

Except for C. magnipes and C. mosaueri, C. infernalis differs from all other species of Chiropterotriton by the focal species having a large relative size of the feet to snout-vent length in males. However, C. infernalis can be differentiated from C. magnipes by less extensive foot webbing in C. infernalis. They can be further distinguished by C. infernalis having fewer premaxillary/maxillary and vomerine teeth and a darker coloration. Chiropterotriton infernalis has a relatively shorter tail than C. mosaueri, but a longer tail than C. multidentatus. Additionally, C. infernalis can be distinguished from C. arboreus, C. chiropterus, C. chondrostega, C. cracens, C. dimidiatus, C. lavae, C. miquihuanus, C. multidentatus, C. orculus, C. priscus, and C. terrestris by the focal species having more extensive foot webbing. Furthermore, C. infernalis has much smaller external nares and and more premaxillary-maxillary teeth than C. miquihuanus. More vomerine teeth in C. infernalis distinguishes it from C. lavae. A larger body size distinguished C. infernalis from C. chondrostega, C. cracens, and C. dimidiatus. Chiropterotriton infernalis has more premaxillary-maxillary teeth in males than C. chiropterus (Rovito and Parra-Olea 2015).

In life, the dorsal surface from the rostrum to the insertion of the forelimbs is red to reddish-brown with dispersed clay-colored spots. The coloration can be somewhat lighter from the snout to interocular region. The dorsum can be reddish-brown with gray flecks. The dorsal side of the tail can be beige to tan with yellowish-brown spots. The dorsal parts of the limbs are a darker reddish-brown with medium-chrome orange mottling. The dorsal sides of hands and feet are reddish-brown with white flecks, while the tips of the toes are a soft pink. The ventral surface of the limbs are reddish-orange. The ventral surface of the abdomen is a medium-brown sprinkled with whitish flecks. The ventral side of the tail is brown or yellowish-brown (Rovito and Parra-Olea 2015).

When preserved in alcohol the dorsum appears medium-brown with pale flecks that are plentiful upon the head. The sides of the head and from the snout to interorbital region are a light brown. The dorsal surfaces of the limbs become gray brown with a pale yellowish-mottling. The dorsal surface of the feet are gray, and the ventral side appear light grey. The ventral surface are grayish to a pale-yellow with some very pale-yellow mottling on the gular region (Rovito and Parra-Olea 2015).

Quantities of vomerine and maxillary teeth can be significantly different with the largest collected specimen having 36 premaxillary and maxillary teeth (Rovito and Parra-Olea 2015).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Mexico


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Chiropterotriton infernalis is found in the Sistema Purificación cave system in Tamaulipas, Mexico. The habitat surrounding the caves is a mixture of mixed pine, oak, and sweet-gum forest with limestone rocks that comprise small caves or fissures. Their range could also extend to caves in the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico, less than 2 km away from Tamaulipas cave system (Rovito and Parra-Olea 2015).

Chiropterotriton infernalis reproduces via direct development.

Trends and Threats
Chiropterotriton infernalis is currently facing issues with habitat loss and possible infection by chytrid fungi, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Bactrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). Bsal is implicated in declines of salamanders in Europe following epizootics. Currently the extent of infection is not known in the American continents, however, the risk of Bsal infection to various Plethodontid salamander population hotspots in Mexico is predicted to be high (Basanta et al. 2019, Yap et al. 2015).

Due to its cave-dwelling habitats it is likely climate change will not impact this species heavily (Rovito and Parra-Olea 2015).

The species is not currently protected, but occurs in an area with few settlements (Rovito and Parra-Olea 2015).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss

Chiropterotriton infernalis was assigned to Chiropterotriton based on mtDNA sequence data examination and the shared characteristics of the group, such as the presence of a sublingual fold, extensively webbed feet, and long tail. Based on Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference analyses of 16S and cytB mtDNA, C. infernalis is sister to the clade composed of C. arboreus, C. cieloensis, C. cracens, and C. multidentatus (Rovito and Parra-Olea 2015).

The species epithet, “infernalis” is Latin for “infernal, hellish, or lower”, which is a reference to the subterranean cave-dwelling habitats of this species. Sistema Purificación cave system is so extensive it has not been fully explored (Rovito and Parra-Olea 2015).


Basanta, M.D., Rebollar, E.A., Parra-Olea, G. (2019). "Potential risk of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans in Mexico." PloS one 14(2): e0211960. [link]

Rovito, S.M., Parra-Olea, G. (2015). "Two new species of Chiropterotriton (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from northern Mexico." Zootaxa 4048(1): 57-74. [link]

Yap, T., Koo, M., Ambrose, R.F., Wake, D.B., Vredenburg, V.T. (2015). "Averting a biodiversity crisis." Science 349(6247), 481-482. [link]

Originally submitted by: Bryan Hicks (2022-10-06)
Description by: Bryan Hicks (updated 2022-10-06)
Distribution by: Bryan Hicks (updated 2022-10-06)
Larva by: Bryan Hicks (updated 2022-10-06)
Trends and threats by: Bryan Hicks (updated 2022-10-06)
Comments by: Bryan Hicks (updated 2022-10-06)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2022-10-06)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Chiropterotriton infernalis: Sistema Purificacion Salamander; Salamandra del Sistema Purification <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Feb 22, 2024.

Feedback or comments about this page.


Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 22 Feb 2024.

AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.