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Finding Bolitoglossa

MonarchzMan

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Hello all,

I'm going to be in Panama for the summer this year working on my thesis project on poison dart frogs, and among my personal goals is to find and photograph Bolitoglossa salamanders. I've been hoping to find them the last several trips, but haven't found any yet.

My biggest issue is that I don't know the habitat for these salamanders. My guess is that they occur in higher elevation areas where it is cooler. I know that my professor has found them in bromeliad axials. While most of my thesis work is going to be in the caribbean lowlands, I will be getting into the cloud forest for a week or so, and if I can, I'd really like to search for some of them.

So that's all I have as far as finding Bolitoglossa: high elevation and bromeliads. That seems pretty broad to find these salamanders. Does anyone have any clues to help ensure my finding them on this trip? Thanks!
 

Kaysie

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JP, I can't help much. But I wish you the best of luck. Even though the rainforest doesn't really do it for me, I'm glad you're turning to the dark side of salamanders. I told you they were cooler than dart frogs. lol.
 

MonarchzMan

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Hah, no, not turning to the dark side. Bolitoglossa has always been a goal of mine. Same with the caecillians. Red-Eyed Tree Frogs and Pumilio are great, but I'm looking for something new ;) If it makes you feel any better, I'll also be looking for Oophaga speciosus in the same area :p
 

taherman

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Try walking along trails or streams at night, check the top surface of leaves of broad leaved plants, particularly heliconias and banana-like plants. They will often sit at the ends of branches or large leaves, presumably waiting for prey. Also check similar low vegetation for smaller individuals out walking at night.

During the day check the axils of bromeliads, and in the axils of heliconias. There might be some seasonality to their activity, I've seen B. schizodactyla and B. colonnea in Panama in Jan and Feb.

Good luck!
Tim
 
T

tylototriton

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The Bolitoglossas i've found have all been on leaves on damper days. We usually find them after rains. That being said, i've only found 2 (although 1 per trip isn't bad). I have an idea that may or many not work. Try collecting leaf litter and looking for them. I suspect that if you collected and picked through leaf litter on days when the air was drier but the litter was still moist you might find them. As for elevational restraints, I know they are present at both lowland and pre-montane forests in Costa Rica. You will certainly not find them in dry areas though. The moister and cooler areas are better.

Best of Luck
Alex
 

taherman

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Also Oedipina are supposedly under rocks along streams, though I flipped many and never found one. I've seen/found probably 20 or so schizodactyla, and only one (very small) colonnea in situ (though other people I was with found more). Not sure about the leaf litter idea, as that niche is more likely to be caecilians and frogs down there. However, you never know what you might find...I would not be disappointed with a caecilian!

Also I've never found one in a bromeliad in Panama, though I didn't use the prescribed method of holding them upside down and shaking them like crazy. Much easier on damp nights when they are just out in the open.

Good luck!
 
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tylototriton

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I'm not really certain if my leaf litter idea would work. I've spoken with some people who think that Bolitoglossids spend time in the leaf litter, so it would certainly be interesting to see. As for caecilians, the only times I have found them they were in the middle of a clearing after rains. They were found sneaking out from under the galletas (tree cookies that make up the paths). I think taherman is right, just pound the trails and keep your eyes open, thats your best bet.

Alex
 

asnyder

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I spent some time in Honduras and will be spending two more months there this summer doing herpetological surveys. My best luck with finding Bolitoglossids was during night walks especially when it rained during the late afternoon. I never actually found any on the ground they were all on the ends of leaves/branches up to head level (possibly higher but I didn't notice). I was at relatively higher elevations (at least 1800m) and the temperatures were moderate but not very high. Granted I was in the Cusuco cloud forest and the ones I found were endemic to the area so they may differ behaviorally in other regions. This year I am going to set up extensive pit fall traps in hopes of finding species that are generally more terrestrial.
 
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    how was the measurements taken, liquid or strip, if its liquid then you count how many drop it takes to change colour, each drop is one degree, if it is strip then you divide the number by 17.9 to get the degree.
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    Should I wash out the spray bottle I just bought for my salamander? Or should I not clean it with soap n shit first becayuse thats adding "chemicals" Just want to be safe/
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    @FragileCorpse, I suggest just rinsing it out with water
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    @FragileCorpse do you still have the AC? Put the tank where the cold air will hit the glass (I hope its glass, wood and acrylic trap heat), this usually lovers my tank by about 5 to 6 degrees. Also what lid do you use? If its a screen lid then what helps me is to spray extra in the morning so the evaporate can cool the vivarium.
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    Another thing I am experimenting with is live plants. I want to believe live plants cool it too by moving water but that could just be me having to mist everything extra.
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    @MooncakeMyDudecake, what are you having trouble with
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    @Captive Bread, Glass tank, screen lid, did put him with AC and temop is great now :)
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    Is there such a thing as having your himidity too high with a salamander? Mine seems to fluctuate pretty intensely between 55 and 80 for some reason
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    Also I neve got a reply to whether or not my salamander needs any UV light?
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    Im keeping potato bugs in a nice moist container, ive got like 30 though and now the containeris poop heaven. Do I need to clean that out? Is that bad for my little buggies? Theyre clearly eating fine based on the trillion billion poops.
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    My salamander only seems to eat potato bugs :s
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    ...in captivity anyway, this was a wild one that I got fined for, but they never gave me the fine and neve rcame to seize him or my tank and accessories like they said they wold :s
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    jesus sorry for typos Im very seizury today
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    dose any one have any tips/tricks for just hatched salamanders/newts
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    @FragileCorpse, Salamanders require a 10-12 hour day light cycle using an incandescent light with low levels of UVB lighting recommended. Never put your tank in direct sunlight, as the sunlight can heat the tank up too much.
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    @salamandernewbe101, just hatched will probably need BBS. I highly recommend the Brine Shrimp Hatchery Dish from Brine Shrimp Direct. It's wicked easy. Can be ordered from Amazon, two day if you get the one without eggs & order the eggs separately.
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    thank you :)
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