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Conservation of Mexican Lungless Salamanders


  • 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
Image | Chiropterotriton mosaueri | © Sean Rovito
Oaxaca and Veracruz, Mexico
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.

Map & Range
Species Threats

Even more so than other amphibians lungless salamanders require a moist environment to aid gas exchange, so most are confined to humid areas. Forest clearance, habitat degradation and the drying out of habitats are all serious threats to Mexico’s lungless salamanders, made even more threatening as many of them have very small, restricted ranges. In addition the lethal fungal pathogen chytridiomycosis or ‘chytrid’ which is known to occur in Mexico is serious potential threat.

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

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

  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
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