Bolitoglossa rufescens (Cope, 1869)

Class: Amphibia > Order: Caudata > Family: Plethodontidae > Subfamily: Hemidactyliinae > Genus: Bolitoglossa > Species: Bolitoglossa rufescens

Oedipus rufescens Cope, 1869, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 21: 104. Holotype: USNM 6886, by original designation; not mentioned in USNM type list by Cochran, 1961, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 220: 1-291, so presumed lost. Type locality: "Orizava" (= Orizaba), Veracruz, Mexico.

Spelerpes (Oedipus) rufescensPeters, 1873, Monatsber. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin, 1873: 617.

Geotriton rufescensSmith, 1877, Tailed Amph.: 76.

Spelerpes rufescensBoulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Grad. Batr. Apoda Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 71.

Oedipus rufescensDunn, 1926, Salamanders Fam. Plethodontidae: 418.

Bolitoglossa rufescensTaylor, 1941, Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull., 27: 145.

Palmatotriton rufescensSmith, 1945, Ward’s Nat. Sci. Bull., 19: 4.

Bolitoglossa rufescensSmith and Taylor, 1948, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 194: 23.

Bolitoglossa (Nanotriton) rufescensParra-Olea, García-París, and Wake, 2004, Biol. J. Linn. Soc., 81: 335.

English Names

Northern Banana Salamander (Liner, 1994, Herpetol. Circ., 23: 11; Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 30; Lee, 2000, Field Guide Amph. Rept. Maya World: 56; Liner and Casas-Andreu, 2008, Herpetol. Circ., 38: 29).

Rufescent Salamander (Lee, 1996, Amph. Rept. Yucatan Peninsula: 43).

Common Dwarf Salamander (Campbell, 1998, Amph. Rept. N. Guatemala Yucatan Belize: 39).


Extreme eastern San Luis Potosí (Mexico) south through Veracruz and adjacent Puebla, and, provisionally east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Chiapas to Belize and northwestern Honduras, along the Atlantic slopes (see comment).


Formerly in the Bolitoglossa rufescens group which now constitutes the subgenus Nanotriton according to Parra-Olea, García-París, and Wake, 2004, Biol. J. Linn. Soc., 81: 335. Populations near Catemaco, Veracruz, Mexico, were referred to this species (rather than Bolitoglossa occidentalis) by Larson, 1983, Herpetologica, 39: 97. See also Elias, 1984, Contrib. Sci. Nat. Hist. Mus. Los Angeles Co., 348: 11; Lee, 1996, Amph. Rept. Yucatan Peninsula: 43–44; Campbell, 1998, Amph. Rept. N. Guatemala Yucatan Belize: 39–40; and Lee, 2000, Field Guide Amph. Rept. Maya World: 56-57. McCranie and Wilson, 2002, Amph. Honduras: 129–131, suggested that nominal Bolitoglossa rufescens from Honduras is not conspecific with Bolitoglossa rufescens from farther north. McCranie, 2007, Herpetol. Rev., 38: 36, summarized the departmental distribution in Honduras. Campbell, Smith, Streicher, Acevedo, and Brodie, 2010, Misc. Publ. Mus. Zool. Univ. Michigan, 200: 40, confirmed the distinctivenes of this species from Bolitoglossa occidentalis, named the Guatemalan population southeast of the Rio Motagua (as Bolitoglossa nympha), and noted that the populations east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec were unlikely to be conspecific with Bolitoglossa rufescens (sensu stricto). The Sierra Juarez population in Oaxaca was recently named as Bolitoglossa chinanteca. Rovito, Parra-Olea, Vázquez-Almazán, Luna-Reyes, and Wake, 2012, BMC Evol. Biol., 12(255): 1–16, provided molecular evidence of even more unnamed lineages. Köhler, 2011, Amph. Cent. Am.: 40–69, compared this species with others from Central America and provided a map and photograph. Raffaëlli, 2013, Urodeles du Monde, 2nd ed.: 313–314, provided a brief account, photograph, and map. Hess, Itgen, Firneno, Nifong, and Townsend, 2017, J. Zool. Syst. Evol. Res., 55: 150–155, on the basis of mtDNA, suggested that several identifiable, and largely allopatric populations currently identified as Bolitoglossa rufescens complex: 1) a population including the type locality (Orizaba) in Veracruz and presumably extending north into San Luis Potosi and into montane eastern Oaxaca and western Chiapas, Mexico; 2) a population from the Tuxtlas of Veracruz, Mexico; 3) a montane "Guatemala" clade of found from montane Huehuetenango and Alta Verapaz; 4) a population from the Sierra de Oma in northwestern Honduras; and 5) a population from the vicinity of Catemaco, Veracruz, Mexico. See account by Cázares-Hernández, Molohua Tzitzihua, Méndez Quiahua, Quiahua Colotl, Temoxtle Marquez, Rodriguez Merino, and Apale Pacheco, 2018, Tlaconetes: 1–92, for photos, habitat, life history, and conservation status. Luría-Manzano, Ramírez-Valverde, and Juárez-Ortiz, 2021, Herpetol. Rev., 52: 341, reported a specimen from the municipality of San Sebastián Tlacotepec, Puebla, Mexico.  

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