AmphibiaWeb - Oedipina leptopoda


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Oedipina leptopoda McCranie, Vieites & Wake, 2008
Narrow-footed Worm Salamander
Subgenus: Oedipina
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Oedipina
Species Description: McCranie JR, Vieites DR, Wake DB 2008 Description of a new divergent lineage and three new species of Honduran salamanders of the genus Oedipina (Caudata, Plethodontidae). Zootaxa 1930:1- 17.

© 2020 Josiah H. Townsend (1 of 3)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Endangered (EN)
National Status None
Regional Status None
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

This member of the genus Oedipina is a small to moderate sized salamander with a slender morphology. It is a direct developing fossorial species that lacks lungs. Diagnosis: It can be distinguished from Oedipina cyclocauda (with which it was formerly synonymized) by its larger size and having narrower hands and feet with less discrete digits, in addition to an allopatric distribution (Honduras for O. leptopoda, vs. Costa Rica for O. cyclocauda). O. leptopoda differs from Oedipina ignea in having more maxillary teeth and narrower feet and hands. It differs from Oedipina stuarti in lacking glandular spots on the head and body, having much narrower hands and feet, and its smaller size. It differs from Oedipina taylori in having a broader head, shorter tail and body, narrower hands and feet, and 19-20 costal grooves. This species also differs in mtDNA and allozymic characters from all other members of the genus Oedipina (McCranie et al. 2008; Good and Wake 1998).

Description: The holotype is a subadult female that measures 29.6 mm in SVL; a paratype adult male measures 47.9 mm in SVL. TL of holotype is 62.8 mm, while TL of the paratype is not known as the stout, round tail was broken 44.4 mm from the tail base. The head is broad and rounded, with the subadult holotype having a narrowly rounded snout and the adult male paratype having an expanded, broadly rounded snout. Nostrils are small but prominent. Eyes are moderately sized and extend just beyond lateral margins of the head. Nasolabial protuberances are moderately conspicuous. The suborbital groove does not intersect with the lip line. The premaxillary teeth are located anteriorly, near the front of the mouth and widely separated from the maxillary teeth. Five premaxillary teeth are counted in the holotype, while a single large tooth is present in the adult male paratype. The two specimens also have different numbers of maxillary teeth and vomerine teeth; the young female holotype has 29 maxillary teeth and 10 vomerine teeth, whereas the adult male paratype has 40 maxillary teeth and 17 vomerine teeth. The vomerine teeth are small and are arranged in an arched series. This species has 19 costal grooves between the limbs, with a limb interval of 12. The hands and feet are very narrow, small and flattened. Digits are tightly fused all the way to the tips, defined only by indistinct grooves that suggest borders. The three longest digits of the forelimbs and hindlimbs of the paratype have small, rounded tips, while the longest digit of the holotype is pointed, and extends barely past (less than 0.2 mm) the tips of adjacent digits. The adult male paratype has a small mental gland (McCranie et al. 2008).

In preservative, the ground color of the holotype has faded to a moderate brown, and the head and snout are paler than the rest of the body. The paratype has a black ground color, slightly lighter ventrally, with a light gray snout, nasolabial protuberances, and mental gland (McCranie et al. 2008).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Honduras


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Oedipina leptopoda occurs in an isolated area in the northwestern portion of Honduras near the Caribbean coast. Two of the three specimens were collected from west of Yoro and just south of Yoro, Honduras, at an elevations between 700 to 1300 m above sea level. The specimens were collected many years ago and habitat was not recorded in the field notes (McCranie et al. 2008).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Salamanders in the genus Oedipina are fossorial and nocturnal, and consume very small invertebrates. This species is very rare and known only from three preserved specimens collected over thirty years ago (McCranie et al. 2008). Details of the reproductive biology of this species are not known, but it is likely to breed by direct development.

Trends and Threats
This species is rarely encountered and has a small range, making it especially threatened. Potential threats include habitat destruction, chytridiomycosis (which has occurred in northwestern Honduras, in Cusuco National Park), and climate change.

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Climate change, increased UVB or increased sensitivity to it, etc.


The specific name leptopoda derives from the Greek words for small and foot (McCranie et al. 2008).

Previously considered part of O. cyclocauda (Good and Wake 1998; García-París and Wake 2000); Honduran populations are now referred to O. leptopoda while Costa Rican populations are considered to be O. cyclocauda (McCranie et al. 2008). Holotype. MVZ 167772, a subadult female from 32 km (by road) West of Yoro on road to Morazan, 15.267480 N, 87.434820 W, Dept. Yoro, Honduras, collected 8 January 1979 as Oedipina cyclocauda by E. J. Koford and J. F. Lynch.

Paratype. MVZ 171078, an adult male from Montana de Yoro, 6.6 km (by road) South of Yoro, 15.073650 N, 87.1333 W, Dept. Yoro, Honduras. Collected in 1978 as Oedipina cyclocauda by J. F. Lynch, E. J. Koford, and E. Balinsky.

Referred Specimen. FMNH 34683, subadult, Portillo Grande, Dept. Yoro, Honduras. Collected in 1940 as Oedipina cyclocauda by R. E. Stadelman.


Good, D. A., and Wake, D. B. (1997). ''Phylogenetic and taxonomic implications of protein variation in the Mesoamerican salamander genus Oedipina (Caudata: Plethodontidae).'' Revista de Biología Tropical, 45(3), 1185-1208.

McCranie, J. R., Vieites, D. R., and Wake, D. B. (2008). ''Description of a new divergent lineage and three new species of Honduran salamanders of the genus Oedipina (Caudata, Plethodontidae).'' Zootaxa, 1930, 1-17.

Originally submitted by: Sean B. Reilly and Christine Lu (first posted 2009-10-13)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2011-03-10)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2011 Oedipina leptopoda: Narrow-footed Worm Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 20, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 20 Apr 2024.

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