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edward 22nd January 2002 00:29

The sad thing is that its already extinct. Pseudoeurycea aquatica was the only aquatic bolitoglossine salamander discovered to date. All other bolitoglossine salamanders are terrestrial with direct developement of eggs. P. aquatica is a member of the P. gadovii group and is apparently closely related to P. smithi. The salamander was collected in a stream and only three specimens were ever collected. When the collecting team returned one year later to look for more specimens the site had been clear cut and the stream was choked with burned logs and ashes destroying all of the habitat. They returned again four years and then again five years later and the habitat was still badly degraded and no specimens were located.
Wake, David B., Campbell, Johnathen, An aquatic plethodontid salamander from Oaxaca, Mexico, Herpetologica 57(4): 509-514


nate 22nd January 2002 23:20

Ed, was there any evidence to suggest larvae? I thought that species was indeed aquatic, but thought to still have direct development of eggs.

edward 23rd January 2002 03:45

Hi Nate,
There wasn't anything mentioned in the article other than the fact that all Bolitoglossids that have known reproductive habits have direct developement. There were no larva observed while collecting the original specimens despite the fact that some other specimens were seen but they escaped. There was some speculation on this in the articel as all other aquatic plethodontids have a larval stage and do not have direct developement. I guess this will be unanswered unless some more of these guys are found somewhere nearby.

nate 23rd January 2002 12:47

That's interesting. I'd bet it was more a case along the lines of P. vandykei and idahoensis, both of which can be found in a few mm of water in seepages and stream banks and often take to the water when disturbed.

edward 23rd January 2002 19:56

Hi Nate,
I'm not sure about that as the observations could have gone either way. In the article all animals observed were already in the water foraging (they went out with flashlights) at night. They did not locate any of the P. aquatica out of the water and collected several other species below and above that site (including a Thorius sp). I don't have the article in front of me and can let you know about the other species located nearby. They did observe more P. aquatica than they were able to capture as the salamanders would immediately retreat to large boulders under the water falls. While they may be residing in seepage areas (like the water falls) and foraging in the deeper waters at night they could just as easily be fully aquatic with a direct developement. There simply isn't enough information to make a guess.

keegan 4th December 2002 22:07


I would love to visit Oaxaca again... I was there for a semester a few years ago studying Anthropology - would love to go back to study amphibians instead...

Such a beautiful state - here's hoping they may discover more surviving species.

PS: Ed, you mentioned that specimens were colected... were they killed for research purposes, or might there be some captive breeding?

edward 5th December 2002 01:02

Hi Keegan,
There were preserved as holotype specimens. Thats why I was saying they were extinct.

mrkeeg 5th December 2002 17:38

Hi Ed,
Interesting... as a 4th year biology student I understand the reasons for taking specimens like this, but I wonder if a case like this might question the validity of it. That is, the taking of a number of animals from a small population in a small and delicate ecosysetem - possibly (reaching a bit) contributing to thier extinction.

Of course, if the team had arrived one year later (after the clearcut), perhaps this species would never be known to science at all...

keegan 5th December 2002 17:43

oops... is my caudata membership working... I think my name should come up as Keegan.... sorry...

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