This salamander is the largest known member of the genus Bolitoglossa. The body is robust with 13 costal grooves (Campbell 1998). The snout is truncate to broadly rounded when viewed from above, and and broadly rounded in profile (McCranie and Wilson 2002). Labial protuberances are weakly developed (McCranie and Wilson 2002). No sublingual fold is present (McCranie and Wilson 2002). Toes are fully to extensively webbed, and toe tips lack well-defined subdigital pads (McCranie and Wilson 2002). Toes not fully encompassed in webbing (Toe III on manus and Toes III-IV on pes) have tips that are pointed or acutely rounded (McCranie and Wilson 2002). The tail is robust and has a constriction at the base (Campbell 1998). This species is sexually dimorphic. Females can reach up to 114.8 mm SVL, while males reach 70 mm SVL (in Guatemala; males unknown for Honduras) (McCranie et al. 1996). Females can be distinguished by their large body, relatively short limbs (adpressed limb interval of 2-3 costal folds in Honduran females) and a high number of maxillary-premaxillary teeth (mean of 93 in Honduran females) (McCranie and Wilson 2002). Males are smaller, with relatively longer limbs (adpressed limb interval ranges from one costal fold to overlapping by one costal fold in Guatemalan males) and have a moderate number of maxillary-premaxillary teeth (mean of 55 in Guatemalan males) (McCranie and Wilson 2002).
Adult female coloration (in Honduran females) is pale brown to dark brown dorsally and may be mottled with rust-red and tan (McCranie and Wilson 2002). Scattered, irregular dark brown spots are present, usually centered on the costal grooves dorsolaterally (McCranie and Wilson 2002). A single subadult female from Honduras was purplish-brown with irregular cream-colored blotches on the body and tail (McCranie and Wilson 2002).
To view a movie of this salamander feeding, click here.
The specific epithet honors Franz J. Theodor Doflein, a naturalist from Germany (McCranie and Wilson 2002). Defenders of Wildlife and SSN have recently recommended that the United States advocate for inclusion of Bolitoglossa dofleini in Appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), which would recommend controls on commercial trade in this species. B. dofleini does reproduce until females are 10-12 years old; the collection of predominantly females for commercial trade may have significant negative impact on smaller populations. In addition, chytrid has been decimating amphibian species in at least one of the localities where B. dofleini is found (Cusuco National Park, Honduras). B. dofleini is known to be susceptible to chytridiomycosis in captivity (Pasmans et al. 2004).
However, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that the U. S. is not planning to propose inclusion of B. dofleini under CITES Appendix II unless "significant additional information is received" about the population and trade status, or assistance is requested by a range country (Belize, Guatemala, or Honduras). The deadline for submitting comments and information to USF&W is September 11, 2009. Species submitted for consideration by the United States and other CITES member countries will be discussed at the CoP15 meeting in Qatar on March 13-25, 2010.
Comments pertaining to species proposals should be sent to the Division of Scientific Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 110, Arlington, VA 22203, or via e-mail at: email@example.com, or via fax at: 703–358–2276. Comments pertaining to proposed resolutions, decisions, and agenda items should be sent to the Division of Management Authority, U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 212, Arlington, VA22203, or via e-mail at: CoP15@fws.gov, or via fax at: 703–358–2298.
For further information pertaining to species proposals contact:Rosemarie Gnam, Chief, Division of Scientific Authority, phone 703–358–1708, fax 703–358–2276, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information pertaining to resolutions, decisions, and agenda items contact: Robert R. Gabel, Chief, Division of Management Authority, phone 703– 358–2095, fax 703–358–2298, e-mail: CoP15@fws.gov.