AmphibiaWeb - Bolitoglossa mucuyensis


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Bolitoglossa mucuyensis García-Gutiérrez, Escalona, Mora, de Pascual & Fermin, 2013
La Mucuy Salamander, Salamandra de La Mucuy
Subgenus: Eladinea
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Bolitoglossa
Species Description: Garcia-Gutierrez J, Escalona M, Mora A, Diaz de Pascual A, Fermin G. 2013 A new species of salamander (Caudata: Plethodontidae, Bolitoglossa) from Sierra Nevada de Merida, Venezuela. Zootaxa 3620:179-191.

© 2013 Amelia Diaz (1 of 6)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Endangered (EN)
National Status None
Regional Status CALIFORNIA



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Bolitoglossa mucuyensis, or the La Mucuy salamander, is one of the two salamanders described for the Andes of Mérida so far. Bolitoglossa mucuyensis is a small salamander with a reduced web extension of both front and hind limbs, and more rounded toe tips; it has a shorter tail as compared to the rest of Venezuela salamanders (except B. orestes). From the dorsal view, the snout is rounded with a blunt and narrow tip. From the ventral view the snout extends over the jaw. The posterior margin of the salamander’s small, round nostrils protrudes from the nasolabial grove. Bolitoglossa mucuyensis also has a postorbital grove that begins at the posterior angle of the eye and extends to the anterior gular fold. The unclefted lips appear concave because of slight protuberances of the labia. Cross-sections of the tail appear rectangular and are taller than wide. The tail is constrained at the base. Limbs are short with hind limbs slightly shorter than forelimbs. Dorsoventrally flattened digit tips are web-less, especially digit 3 and have noticeable subtermial pads. Digits are also rounded at tips. Relative finger lengths are 3 > 2 > 4 > 1 and relative toe lengths are 3 > 4 > 2 > 5 > 1 (Garcia-Gutierrez et al. 2013).

Bolitoglossa mucuyensis can differentiated from other Venezuelan salamanders, excluding B. orestes, by having a longer snout-vent length to total length ratio (1.36 ± 0.38). This species can be differentiated from B. orestes and other Venezuelan salamanders by having more rounded digits with less webbing, specifically on digits 3 and between digit 1 and 2 of the hand, and between toes 1 and 2 and between 3 and 4 (Garcia-Gutierrez et al. 2013).

In life, B. mucuyensis dorsal regions are dark brown to black. There are various individual dorsal markings with some specimens having light brown spots or a light ochre or black dorsal stripe along the spine. Some individuals have at the base of their tails merging light paravertebral spots. The venter, flanks, and limbs are light to dark brown. In ethanol, the backgrounds of specimens become uniformly dark brown on the dorsum, flanks lighter brown, and venter lighter still. Dorsal strips do not lose much color, paraverteral spots become darker (Garcia-Gutierrez et al. 2013).

Bolitoglossa mucuyensis has a highly variable coloration pattern (black to ochre, with or without varying colors and patterns in clearly evident stripes and spots; Garcia-Gutierrez et al. 2013).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Venezuela


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
The Andes of Mérida (Cordillera de Mérida, Venezuela) are comprised of two main ranges: Sierra Nevada de Mérida and Sierra La Culata. The only currently known location of B. mucuyensis is a reduced area from Sierra Nevada de Mérida called La Mucuy Alta, from which the name of the species derives. Specimens from this salamander have been found under deep ground cover (with or without leaves litter) in highly humid microenvironments (Díaz de Pascual et al. 2010). At bigger scale, the predominant ecosystem from where this Mérida salamander has been found so far is the mountainous cloud forest, at approximately 2000 masl (range: 1870-2250 masl; Garcia-Gutierrez et al. 2013).

Trends and Threats
Because of the recent description of this species it has yet to be assessed by conservation agencies.

The species epithet, mucuyensis means “native of La Mucuy” to emphasis that the species has only been found in the La Mucuy area of Venezuela (Garcia-Gutierrez et al. 2013).

The other bolitoglossine from Mérida state, B. orestes, has been a matter of taxonomic confusion in the past. According to Fermin et al. (2012) there is only one salamander at Sierra La Culata, since the previously reported B. spongai (sensu Barrio-Amorós and Fuestes-Ramos 1999) turned out to be a junior synonym of B. orestes, as originally described by Brame and Wake in 1962. Recently, García-Gutiérrez et al. (2013) reported the distinctiveness of La Mucuy salamander (Sierra Nevada de Mérida), and provided a full description of what was erroneously considered to be B. orestes in the past. Briefly, B. orestes is distributed along Sierra La Culata, while B. mucuyensis is restricted to a small area of Sierra Nevada de Mérida.


Barrio, C. L. and Fuentes, O. (1999). '' Bolitoglossa spongai una nueva especie de salamandra (Caudata: Plethodontidae) de los Andes Venezolanos, con comentarios sombre el genero en Venezuela.'' Acta Biologica Venezuelica, 19(4), 9-19.

Brame A.H., Jr., Wake, D.B. (1962). ''A new plethodontid salamander (genus Bolitoglossa) from Venezuela with redescription of the Ecuadorian salamander B. palmata (Werner).'' Copeia, 1962(1), 170–177.

Díaz de Pascual A., García J., Mora A., Kiyota S., Escalona M. (2010). ''Bolitoglossa orestes (Culata climbing salamander) and Bolitoglossa spongai (NCN). Life history.'' Herpetological Review, 41, 186–187.

Fermin, G., García-Gutiérrez, J., Escalona, M., Mora, A., Díaz. A. (2012). ''Molecular taxonomic reassessment of the cloud forest’s Bolitoglossa salamanders (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from Cordillera de Mérida (Mérida state, Venezuela).'' Zootaxa, 3356, 47–56.

García-Gutiérrez, J., Escalona, M., Mora, A., Díaz, A., Fermin, G. (2013). ''A new species of salamander (Caudata: Plethodontidae, Bolitoglossa) from Sierra Nevada de Mérida, Venezuela.'' Zootaxa, 3620, 179–191.

Originally submitted by: Gustavo Fermin (first posted 2013-08-21)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2021-01-18)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Bolitoglossa mucuyensis: La Mucuy Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Sep 22, 2023.

Feedback or comments about this page.


Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 22 Sep 2023.

AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.