Two Newly Discovered Salamander Species Described by Colombian Researchers

by Stuart Patterson

A team of young researchers from Colombia have recently published an article in the journal Zootaxa describing two new species of salamander discovered during a project supported by the Conservation Leadership Programme and Save Our Species.

The two new salamanders belong to the genus Bolitoglossa, otherwise known as tropical climbing or web-footed salamanders. One of the salamanders (B. leandrae) has been named after an 11-year old girl who became friends with the team whilst they conducted their fieldwork. “Leandra grew fascinated by the world of amphibians,” explains team leader Aldemar Acevedo. “She was eager to learn about our work and became an excellent spokesperson for nature conservation among the community.”

Bolitoglossa leandrae is a relatively small salamander (its body measures roughly 2.5 cm in length, about the size of a 50 pence, 20 cent or US quarter coin) with a narrow head and long, slender tail. Males are dark brown with thin yellow stripes along the length of the body and females are reddish brown.

Bolitoglossa tamaense is slightly longer than B. leandrae (the body of the longest specimen measured approximately 5 cm, or the same as the height of a credit card) and has a broad head and relatively long body and legs. A number of different colourations and patterns were recorded, but the body is generally brown or dark red, and the tail and limbs can be dark brown, red, orange or yellow…

(read more: Flora and Fauna Intl.)    (photos: Aldemar Acevedo)


In Search of Lost Salamanders:

Returning after 38 years to find lost salamanders in the remote cloud forests of Guatemala.

by Robin Moore

“We called it the golden wonder”, says Jeremy Jackson, reminiscing about a salamander that he was the first, and last, to find in the wild 38 years ago.

Time has not dulled his memory: I found the first one under a sheet of bark in a field and, after collecting in this field for weeks without success it was obviously something unusual. What the few photos of Bolitoglossa jacksoni [aka Jackson’s Climbing Salamander] that exist don’t show is the brilliance and depth of the coloration. It was an exceptionally beautiful animal”.

But what brought Jackson to the remote forests of Guatemala all those years ago? His good friend, Paul Elias. Elias had ventured to Guatemala for the first time in 1974 – his findings had been so remarkable that he was compelled to return…

(read more: Medium.com)

photographs by Robin Moore

The worm salamander, Oedipina taylori, is a species of salamander in the family Plethodontidae (the lungless salamanders). It is found in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montanes. It is threatened by habitat loss. (via: Wikipedia)

(photo: Vladlen Henríquez)


Blue Vipers, Endangered Frogs, and Threatened Birds Protected by New Guatemalan Reserve

media release by ABC, Robert Johns

Conservationists are celebrating the establishment of the new 6,000-acre Sierra Caral Amphibian Reserve in Guatemala, which will protect some of the country’s most endangered wildlife. The reserve is home to a dozen globally threatened frogs and salamanders, five found nowhere else in the world, three species of threatened birds, and the recently discovered Merendon Palm-pitviper (Bothriechis thalassinus), an arboreal, blue-toned viper.

Tucked away in the eastern corner of Guatemala near the Caribbean Sea, and running along the Honduran border, the Sierra Caral is an isolated mountain range that is home to numerous rare and endangered animals and plants. Exploration of these mountains has yielded several new discoveries of beetles, salamanders, frogs, and snakes over the past two decades.

 The site will offer protections for many birds including threatened species such as: the

Highland Guan, Great Curassow and Keel-billed Motmot. Furthermore, the site is known as a haven for an abundance of migratory birds including the Canada Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Wood Thrush, Painted Bunting, Worm-eating Warbler, and Louisiana Waterthrush…

(read more: American Bird Conservancy)

(photos: TL - Great Curassow by Greg Homel; TR - Merendon Palm-pitviper by Robin Moore; Mid - Aerial view by Robin Moore; BL - Giant Palm-footed Salamander by Robin Moore; BR - Carlos Vasquez Almazan next to old growth tree by Don Church)

Newly Listed as ‘Critically Endangered’:  Chuj Climbing Salamander

(photo: Todd Pierson)

The Chuj Climbing Salamander (Dendrotriton chujorum), a species of dwarf salamander from Guatemala, is another addition to the critically endangered category of the 2011 IUCN Red List. The salamanders are found in a limited area of hardwood forest, much of which has been cut for farming and firewood. But local authorities are also working hard to protect a remaining stretch of forest where the amphibians still thrive.

"It’s a classic example of how humans impact biodiversity around the world," Miller said. "We have the power to destroy—but also the power to protect."

(via: National Geo)

20 Years of Discovery with Conservation International: The "ET salamander", Bolitoglossa sp. nov, discovered in Ecuador in 2009.This genus of salamanders has fully webbed feet which help them climb high into the canopy of tropical forests; they also have no lungs and breathe instead through their skin. This new species was found in the wet forests of the tepuis in southern Ecuador. (Photo: Jessica Deichmann)

(via: Guardian UK)