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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Bolitoglossa compacta is a robust, moderately-sized salamander (Savage 2002). Adult males are 44 - 53 mm in standard length and females are 68 - 74 mm in standard length (Savage 2002). The tail is about 44 - 50% of the total length (100 - 143 mm) (Savage 2002). Head width is 14 - 16% of the standard length (Savage 2002). Eyes are large and protruding (Savage 2002). Below the eye a deep unpigmented groove is present; posterior to the eye, a well-defind postorbital groove extends (Wake et al. 1973). The canthus rostralis is moderately short and slightly arched (Wake et al. 1973). A gular fold is present (Wake et al. 1973). Adults have 11 - 50 maxillary teeth and 19 - 33 vomerine teeth (Savage 2002). Vomerine teeth are arranged in two single rows, one on each side and near the midline, angling sharply towards the parasphenoid tooth patches (Wake et al. 1973). There are 1.5 - 2.5 costal folds between adpressed limbs (Savage 2002). Male leg length is 22 - 24% of the standard length, while in females, the leg length is 25 - 28% of the specimen's standard length (Savage 2002). The tail is compressed laterally (Wake et al. 1973). A pale crescent-shaped postiliac gland is present (Wake et al. 1973). Hands and feet are moderately webbed (Savage 2002). Digit tips are broad and truncated (Wake et al. 1973). Finger lengths are 3>2>4>1 and toe lengths are 3>4>2>5>1 (Wake et al. 1973). At least two phalanges on the longest digits lack webbing (Savage 2002). Males are generally smaller but have broader heads, longer hind limbs, and larger feet (Wake et al. 1973).

In life, it is brown (Savage 2002) or black (Wake et al. 1973) with red or orange markings on the dorsal surface (blotches, indistinct paired dorsolateral stripes, or a mid-dorsal field). The venter is a uniform brown. The iris is pale brown (Savage 2002).

In preservative, the dorsum and venter are black with orange to yellowish markings. The ventral surface is almost as dark as the dorsal surface and it is very uniform. A few large orange splotches are seen near the base of the tail, along with some spots on the top of the head and behind the eyes. The eyelids are black and orange, mottled. The limbs are black with one small lighter spot on the left hind limb above the ankle (on the holotype). The palms are graym (Wake et al. 1973).

This species is similar to Bolitoglossa cerroensis except that B. cerroensis has yellow to green markings, a narrower head, and longer limbs (Savage 2002). It is also similar to B. pesrubra and B. subpalmata, but but B. compacta has a longer standard length and has fewer maxillary teeth (Savage 2002). It can be distinguished from B. marmorea and B. sooyorum because it has smaller hands and feet, and because it has fewer teeth (Wake et al. 1973). Compared to other species of this genus, this species has relatively weak and poorly developed upper and lower jaws for its size (Wake et al. 1973).

A Spanish-language species account can be found at the website of Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio).

  • Hanken, J. (1979). ''Egg development time and clutch size in two neotropical salamanders.'' Copeia, 1979(4), 741-744.
  • Lips, K. R. (1993). ''Bolitoglossa compacta (NCN).'' Herpetological Review, 24, 107.
  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • Wake, D. B., Brame, A. H. and Duellman, W. E. (1973). ''New species of salamanders, genus Bolitoglossa, from Panama.'' Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County - Contributions in Science, 248, 1-19.
  • Wake, D. B., Brame, A. H., and Duellman, W. E. (1970). ''Bolitoglossa compacta, new species.'' Contributions in Science, (248), 12 - 19.
  • Ibañez, R., Solí­s, F., Jaramillo, C. and Rand, S. (2000). ''An overview of the herpetology of Panama.'' Mesoamerican Herpetology: Systematics, Zoogeography and Conservation. Johnson, J. D., Webb, R. G. and Flores-Villela, O. A., eds., The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, 159-170.
  • Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Wake, D., Savage, J., Chaves, G., and Bolaños, F. 2008. Bolitoglossa compacta. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 09 November 2009.
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is found in the humid lower montane areas on or near the Costa Rica-Panama border, on the Pacific versant of Costa Rica at 1,650-1,980m asl, and the Atlantic and Pacific slopes of western Panama at 1,810-2,780m asl.
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Distribution and Habitat

Occurs in both Costa Rica (Lips 1993; Savage 2002) and Panama (Wake et al. 1993; Ibañez et al. 2000), near the Costa Rica - Panama border. On the Costa Rican slopes (Pacific versant) they are found at 1650 - 1980 m asl, while in western Panama (Atlantic and Pacific versants) they are found at 1810 - 2780 m asl (Savage 2002). The species is usually found on the ground or on low vegetation in undisturbed, humid lower montane rainforests (Savage 2002), with an understory of palms and ferns (Wake et al. 1973). Moisture is assumed to be plentiful year-round due to heavy moss growth (Wake et al. 1973).

  • Hanken, J. (1979). ''Egg development time and clutch size in two neotropical salamanders.'' Copeia, 1979(4), 741-744.
  • Lips, K. R. (1993). ''Bolitoglossa compacta (NCN).'' Herpetological Review, 24, 107.
  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • Wake, D. B., Brame, A. H. and Duellman, W. E. (1973). ''New species of salamanders, genus Bolitoglossa, from Panama.'' Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County - Contributions in Science, 248, 1-19.
  • Wake, D. B., Brame, A. H., and Duellman, W. E. (1970). ''Bolitoglossa compacta, new species.'' Contributions in Science, (248), 12 - 19.
  • Ibañez, R., Solí­s, F., Jaramillo, C. and Rand, S. (2000). ''An overview of the herpetology of Panama.'' Mesoamerican Herpetology: Systematics, Zoogeography and Conservation. Johnson, J. D., Webb, R. G. and Flores-Villela, O. A., eds., The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, 159-170.
  • Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Wake, D., Savage, J., Chaves, G., and Bolaños, F. 2008. Bolitoglossa compacta. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 09 November 2009.
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Countries

Countries

Costa Rica, Panama

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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Identification

Adult

Species description based on Savage (2002).  Medium-sized salamander with a robust body (males to 53 mm, females to 74 mm).

Dorsal

Dorsal surface brown to black with red-brown or orange patches or paired dorsolateral stripes.

Eye

Iris is pale brown.

Extremities

Hands and feet moderately webbed.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It inhabits humid montane forest, living on the ground and in low vegetation; there is little information on its adaptability to disturbed habitats. This species breeds by direct development (Hanken 1979)

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Habitat

Lower montane rainforest to almost 2800 m.

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General Ecology

Ecology

Ecology

This is a naturally rare species. It may be found on the ground or slightly off the ground on vegetation at night (Savage 2002).

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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Life History

Breeding season

Breeding occurs in the dry season, so that eggs hatch at the beginning of the wet season when conditions favor survival (Hanken 1979).A female observed by Hanken (1979) deposited a clutch of 39 white eggs. See Hanken (1979) and Hanken and Wake (1996) for photographs of the mother with her clutch, a hatchling, as well as two preserved embryos. Eggs hatched after 249-251 days (8 months!), which is an extremely long time compared to other salamanders (Hanken 1979).A photograph of a hatchling can be found in Hanken and Wake (1996). Hatchlings reared by Hanken (1979) measured 13.4 and 11.4 mm (SVL).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
B1ab(iii)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2004

Assessor/s
Frank Solís, Roberto Ibáñez, David Wake, Jay Savage, Gerardo Chaves, Federico Bolaños

Reviewer/s
Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Endangered because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 5,000 km2, all individuals are in fewer than five locations, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat on Mount Mulanje.
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Population

Population
This is a naturally rare species.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

This species is nocturnal and scansorial (Savage 2002). It breeds by direct development (Stuart et al. 2008). Egg deposition occurs during the dry season and larvae hatch at the beginning of the wet season (Hanken 1979).

An adult female (84.7 mm SVL) was collected from under a log on the southern slope of Cerro Respingo, at 2,710 m asl. In captivity, this female deposited a clutch of 39 eggs, as a clump (typical of Bolitoglossa species). Parental care was not evident; after one day, the female did not show signs of attempting to brood or disturb the eggs in any way. Eggs were removed to a moistened paper towel in a petri dish and kept at 13 degrees C, closely approximating the temperature of 11.8 degrees C at the locality of capture, and the mean temperature reported for Bolitoglossa subpalmata nest sites at comparable elevations in Costa Rica (12.8 degrees C at 2,300-3,200 m asl). About two to three weeks after oviposition, fungal mycelia were observed on the clutch, and subsequently the eggs were washed in 0.5% hydrogen peroxide every 2-4 days until hatching. Eggs/embryos were preserved when it appeared certain that the embryos had stopped developing. Two embryos hatched at 249 and 251 days after oviposition, with a total development time of 8.1 months. Growth appeared to stop at about eight weeks, when the hatchlings did not change in total length; the juveniles were then preserved (Hanken 1979).

The time to hatching (over 8 months for B. compacta) is relatively long compared to other salamanders. However, it follows the general pattern of longer development for neotropical vs. temperate salamanders.For the direct-developing temperate salamanaders Plethodon vehiculum and Batrachoseps attenuatus, development time is 2 months, and for the direct-developing Ensatina eschscholtzii, development takes 4 months. For direct-developing Neotropical salamanders, development has been inferred to be 4-5 months for Bolitoglossa subpalmata and 5-6 months for B. rostrata (Hanken 1979).

  • Hanken, J. (1979). ''Egg development time and clutch size in two neotropical salamanders.'' Copeia, 1979(4), 741-744.
  • Lips, K. R. (1993). ''Bolitoglossa compacta (NCN).'' Herpetological Review, 24, 107.
  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • Wake, D. B., Brame, A. H. and Duellman, W. E. (1973). ''New species of salamanders, genus Bolitoglossa, from Panama.'' Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County - Contributions in Science, 248, 1-19.
  • Wake, D. B., Brame, A. H., and Duellman, W. E. (1970). ''Bolitoglossa compacta, new species.'' Contributions in Science, (248), 12 - 19.
  • Ibañez, R., Solí­s, F., Jaramillo, C. and Rand, S. (2000). ''An overview of the herpetology of Panama.'' Mesoamerican Herpetology: Systematics, Zoogeography and Conservation. Johnson, J. D., Webb, R. G. and Flores-Villela, O. A., eds., The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, 159-170.
  • Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Wake, D., Savage, J., Chaves, G., and Bolaños, F. 2008. Bolitoglossa compacta. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 09 November 2009.
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Threats

Major Threats
The main threat is habitat loss caused by expanding smallholder farming activities and logging.
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

The species is rare, and populations are also declining due to habitat loss from increased small farming and logging. It occurs within at least one protected area, Parque Internacional La Amistad, which is on the border between Costa Rica and Panama (Stuart et al. 2008).

  • Hanken, J. (1979). ''Egg development time and clutch size in two neotropical salamanders.'' Copeia, 1979(4), 741-744.
  • Lips, K. R. (1993). ''Bolitoglossa compacta (NCN).'' Herpetological Review, 24, 107.
  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • Wake, D. B., Brame, A. H. and Duellman, W. E. (1973). ''New species of salamanders, genus Bolitoglossa, from Panama.'' Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County - Contributions in Science, 248, 1-19.
  • Wake, D. B., Brame, A. H., and Duellman, W. E. (1970). ''Bolitoglossa compacta, new species.'' Contributions in Science, (248), 12 - 19.
  • Ibañez, R., Solí­s, F., Jaramillo, C. and Rand, S. (2000). ''An overview of the herpetology of Panama.'' Mesoamerican Herpetology: Systematics, Zoogeography and Conservation. Johnson, J. D., Webb, R. G. and Flores-Villela, O. A., eds., The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, 159-170.
  • Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Wake, D., Savage, J., Chaves, G., and Bolaños, F. 2008. Bolitoglossa compacta. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 09 November 2009.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It occurs in Parque Internacional La Amistad on the border of Costa Rica and Panama.
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Wikipedia

Cerro Pando salamander

The Cerro Pando Salamander (Bolitoglossa compacta) is a species of salamander in the Plethodontidae family. It is found in Costa Rica and Panama. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.

References

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