EDGE Community


Project information

[Project name/title]
Conservation of Mexican Lungless Salamanders


[Project description/overview]
  • Establish spatial knowledge of the distribution and occurrence of some of the threatened species in Mexico.
  • Screen individuals and other amphibians in these areas for the presence of chytrid fungus.
  • Increase the capacity in Mexico for the long term conservation of these species


Location:
Oaxaca and Veracruz, Mexico

Project type:
Conservation

Relevant EDGE species:
Ainsworth's Salamander (Plethodon ainsworthi)
Cuchumatanas Bromeliad Salamander (Dendrotriton cuchumatanus)
Pigmy Splayfoot Salamander (Chiropterotriton lavae)
Bigfoot Splayfoot Salamander (Chiropterotriton magnipes)
Cerro de En Medio Moss Salamander (Nototriton lignicola)
Golden Thorius (Thorius aureus)
Atoyac Minute Salamander (Thorius infernalis)
Upper Cerro Pigmy Salamander (Thorius narisovalis)
Veracruz Pigmy Salamander (Thorius pennatulus)
Aquatic False Brook Salamander (Pseudoeurycea aquatica)
Jalapa False Brook Salamander (Pseudoeurycea exspectata)
Veracruz Green Salamander (Pseudoeurycea lynchi)
Cofre de Perote Salamander (Pseudoeurycea naucampatepetl)
Black Jumping Salamander (Pseudoeurycea nigra)
Black Spotted Salamander (Pseudoeurycea nigromaculata)
Dwarf False Brook Salamander (Pseudoeurycea parva)
Smith's False Brook Salamander (Pseudoeurycea smithi)
Bell's false brook salamander (Pseudoeurycea bellii)

Project members:
Craig Turner




Relevant species
. Ainsworth's Salamander (Plethodon ainsworthi) EX

All members of this salamander family are completely lungless and rely on gas exchange across their skin for respiration. For this reason they must possess moist skin in order to aid the respiration process.

[Relevance description]
44. Cuchumatanas Bromeliad Salamander (Dendrotriton cuchumatanus) CR

This species is found living under moss and bark on large fallen trees.

[Relevance description]
49. Pigmy Splayfoot Salamander (Chiropterotriton lavae) CR

Recently lost from half its former habitat due to the expansion of mining operations.

[Relevance description]
49. Bigfoot Splayfoot Salamander (Chiropterotriton magnipes) CR

This species only inhabits damp caves, which are drying out as a result of surrounding deforestation.

[Relevance description]
54. Cerro de En Medio Moss Salamander (Nototriton lignicola) CR

Unlike in most lungless salamanders, females of this species do not guard their eggs.

[Relevance description]
61. Golden Thorius (Thorius aureus) CR

This species is one of the largest members of its genus, and yet grows to scarcely 6 cm in length.

[Relevance description]
61. Atoyac Minute Salamander (Thorius infernalis) CR

Atoyac minute salamander has not been seen since the early 1980s.

[Relevance description]
61. Upper Cerro Pigmy Salamander (Thorius narisovalis) CR

Though once extremely common, recent attempts to locate this species in the wild have been unsuccessful

[Relevance description]
61. Veracruz Pigmy Salamander (Thorius pennatulus) CR

The Veracruz pigmy salamander has experienced an 80%+ population decline in the last 15 years.

[Relevance description]
90. Aquatic False Brook Salamander (Pseudoeurycea aquatica) CR

The only aquatic salamander within its genus, this species may already be extinct.

[Relevance description]
90. Jalapa False Brook Salamander (Pseudoeurycea exspectata) CR

Found within rotting logs and bromeliads this species is fast becoming very rare.

[Relevance description]
90. Veracruz Green Salamander (Pseudoeurycea lynchi) CR

Since the destruction of much of this species' habitat, it has sometimes been found living in rubbish heaps.

[Relevance description]
90. Cofre de Perote Salamander (Pseudoeurycea naucampatepetl) CR

This striklingly coloured salamander has not been seen for more than 20 years.

[Relevance description]
90. Black Jumping Salamander (Pseudoeurycea nigra) CR

This species is a very good jumper, as its name suggests.

[Relevance description]
90. Black Spotted Salamander (Pseudoeurycea nigromaculata) CR

Once a common sight in Mexican cloud forests in southern Veracruz, this species may now be extinct.

[Relevance description]
90. Dwarf False Brook Salamander (Pseudoeurycea parva) CR

One of the smallest species in its genus, this ancient salamander lives in high altitude forest.

[Relevance description]
90. Smith's False Brook Salamander (Pseudoeurycea smithi) CR

Formerly abundant, this salamander has been almost impossible to find for the last 15 years.

[Relevance description]
630. Bell's false brook salamander (Pseudoeurycea bellii) VU

[Relevance description]
Species background

The plethodontid or ‘lungless’ salamanders as their name suggests possess no lungs, breathing entirely through their skin and mouth lining. They tend to be very small in size (25mm – 250mm total length) and are nearly all terrestrial. Whilst they are the largest group of salamanders, accounting for nearly 70% of all living species, they are also the most endangered: more than half are threatened in the wild. Mexico itself is home to nearly a third of all known species. 20 of these are listed in the top 100 priority EDGE amphibian species of which 10 may already be extinct.

 
Aims
  • Establish spatial knowledge of the distribution and occurrence of some of the threatened species in Mexico.
  • Screen individuals and other amphibians in these areas for the presence of chytrid fungus.
  • Increase the capacity in Mexico for the long term conservation of these species
 
Future actions
  1. Screening ranges of the highest priority EDGE plethodontids for chytrid fungus, collecting data from two key sites where these lungless salamanders are found
  2.  

  3. All ranges will be thoroughly searched to investigate the possible extinction of many of these species and find numbers of surviving species.
  4.  

  5. Threats to each species will be mapped and three Mexican students will be trained in amphibian surveying and disease sampling techniques, helping to build research and conservation capacity
 
Project members
Dr Craig Turner : Project Leader

Craig recently co-led the Negros Interior Biodiversity Expedition in the Philippines

[Member role description]
[Title:] Image | Chiropterotriton mosaueri | © Sean Rovito
[Image caption]
Associated Blog Posts
19th Mar 12
As it was St Patrick’s Day last saturday, we thought we should pay homage and carry on the ‘green theme’ in our species of the week blog. So, here we p...  Read

22nd Aug 11
Taylor’s salamander (Ambystoma taylori)like many other amphibians defies limits. This salamander has specialised for life in salty water. It can only be fo...  Read

22nd Sep 10
Conservation International’s “Lost Frogs” campaign (see EDGE blog) has found the elusive Cave splayfoot salamander (Chiropterotriton mosaueri) during i...  Read