A solution to the large black salamander problem (genus Bolitoglossa) in Costa Rica and Panama

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Date Published:

May 9


Several populations of large (adult standard length, 43-134 mm) black salamanders of the widespread neotropical genus Bolitoglossa (Plethodontidae) are known from the cordilleras of western Panama and Costa Rica. These populations constitute at least seven species, including two recently described (B. anthracina, B. copia), one described long ago that remains poorly known (B. nigrescens), and three described herein as new. The long recognized, Aide-ranging B. robusta, which is distinguished by a pale, pigmented ring around the tail base and a unique combination of maxillary and vomerine tooth counts, may occur sympatrically with four of the other taxa. Differences in head and body form, adult size, cranial osteology, and maxillary and vomerine tooth counts separate all recognized taxa from one another. These results confirm and indeed increase the exceedingly high diversity of salamander species known from the Cordillera Talamanca-Baru of Costa Rica and Panama, diversity that now rivals that found anywhere else in the tropics.


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Last updated on 05/14/2015