AmphibiaWeb - Oedipina motaguae


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Oedipina motaguae Brodie, Acevedo & Campbell, 2012
Motagua Worm Salamander
Subgenus: Oedipina
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Oedipina
Species Description: Brodie ED Jr, Acevedo M, Campbell JA 2012 New salamanders of the genus Oedipina (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from Guatemala. J Herpetology 46: 233-240.
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Endangered (EN)
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Oedipina motaguae is a robust, long-tailed species, with a snout length of 52.0 mm. Its tail is 1.9 times its snout length. There are 21 costal grooves present on each side of the body, and there are 15 intercostal folds between adpressed limbs. Oedipina motaguae has small and narrow manus and pes (1.07 mm and 1.27 mm, respectively) compared to most members of this subgenus, and its digital webbing amounts to half its toe length. Its snout is dorsally acutely rounded; it has 13-14 vomerine teeth and 13-19 premaxillary plus maxillary teeth. Its dorsal and flank are a dark purplish black color with white flecking, and its venter is pale (Brodie et al. 2012).

Diagnosis: Oedipina motaguae can be distinguished from other members of the Oedipina subgenus by its robust body, a broader and shorter snout, pale venter, pale limbs possessing few melanophores, costal grooves (21 on each side), intercostal folds (15), vomerine teeth (13-14), premaxillary plus maxillary teeth (13-19), small and narrow manus and pes (1.07 mm and 1.27 mm, respectively), and large, horizontally elongate postiliac glands (Brodie et al. 2012).

Coloration in life: Oedipina motaguae has a dark, brownish-black body with abundant white speckling caused by iridiophores. On the head, the white speckling is concentrated on top of the head and eyelids; on the trunk, the speckling is most prominent along the middorsum and dorsolaterally. The tail does not have as much white speckling as the head or trunk. The limbs have a brown ground color with occasional white specks on the proximal segments (Brodie et al. 2012).

Coloration in preservation (alcohol after formalin): In preservative, the specimen becomes medium gray at the top of the head, dorsum of body, and the tail; there is no white speckling observed on the body. The dorsum is lighter than the lower flanks between the costal grooves, and the areas surrounding the costal grooves are darker than the costal folds. The venter of the head is a pale cream color, and the throat from the gular fold to the forelimbs is gray; the venter of the body is a mix of these two colors. The venter of the tail is a darker gray than the rest of the body. The limbs are obviously paler than the body (Brodie et al. 2012).

Variation: The snout length of Oedipina motaguae varies from 30.0 mm to 52.0 mm. Individuals can have anywhere between 13-14 vomerine teeth and 13-19 premaxillary plus maxillary teeth. White speckling on the body can vary in intensity, but remain concentrated at the top of the head, eyelids, middorsum, and dorsolaterally (Brodie et al. 2012).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Guatemala


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Oedipina motaguae is known from the Motagua Valley of Guatemala, in the wet banks of the Río Doña Maria. The holotype was collected between 100 - 125 m elevation. Middle portions of the Motagua Valley are among the driest regions in Central America: it receives about 500 mm of precipitation per year (Brodie et al. 2012).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss


There is taxonomic confusion between this species and Oedipina taylori. The authors to describe this species believe several Oedipina motaguae specimens were incorrectly described as Oedipina taylori. There may be other Oedipina motaguae specimens classified as Oedipina taylori in museum collections.

This species is named for the Motagua Valley, where was first discovered (Brodie et al. 2012).


Brodie, E.D. Jr., Acevedo, M., Campbell, J.A. (2012). "New salamanders of the genus Oedipina (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from Guatemala." Journal of Herpetology, 46(2), 233-240. [link]

Originally submitted by: Amanda D. Wong (first posted 2012-09-05)
Edited by: Michelle S. Koo (2012-10-21)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2012 Oedipina motaguae: Motagua Worm Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 22, 2024.

Feedback or comments about this page.


Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 22 Apr 2024.

AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.