AmphibiaWeb - Oedipina altura


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Oedipina altura Brame, 1968
Cartago Worm Salamander
Subgenus: Oedipina
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Oedipina
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Data Deficient (DD)
National Status None
Regional Status None
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Oedipina altura, also known as the Cartago Worm Salamander, is a moderately large species with males reaching a total length of 131mm with 19-20 costal grooves (although females may be larger). Much of the length is due to the long tail which usually comprises more than 50% of the total body length. This is a slender, dark gray to black salamander with limited markings in the form of small white spots found on the head, neck, and upper surface of the limbs. Limbs are moderately short with syndactylus hands and feet. The ventral surfaces and tail are black, although juveniles may be bronze above with a silver stripe separating the dorsum from the venter.(Savage 2002)

O. altura is similar to Oedipina pseudouniformis, but the two species may be distinguished by head shape. O. pseudouniformis is differentiated by a longer, narrower snout and head, whereas O. altura has a moderately wide head with a truncated snout.(Brame 1968)

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Costa Rica


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Oedipina altura is found only in the humid lower montane rainforests of the extreme northern Cordillera de Talamanca in central Costa Rica. Its range is limited to less than 100 square kilometers (Savage 2002).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
A terrestrial "worm" salamander, O. altura is assumed to be direct developing and as such is able to live independent of water sources.

Trends and Threats
No individuals of O. altura have been collected since 1985, and it is presumed that all remaining individuals of the species reside in the single limited local of the Cordillera de Talamanca.

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing

O. altura is known from only three specimens.(Savage 2002)

A Spanish-language species account can be found at the website of Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio).


Brame, A. H., Jr. (1968). "Systematics and evolution of the Mesoamerican salamander genus Oedipina." Journal of Herpetology, 2, 1-64. [link]

Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica:a herpetofauna between two continents, between two seas. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, USA and London.

Originally submitted by: Ketti Augusztiny (first posted 2004-11-16)
Edited by: Tate Tunstall (2009-11-04)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2009 Oedipina altura: Cartago Worm Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 18, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 18 Apr 2024.

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