IUCN threat status:

Endangered (EN)

Comprehensive Description

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Oedipina poelzi is long and slender plethodontid salamander with an incredibly long tail like the other members of the genus Oedipina. These salamanders reach 46 to 64 mm in snout-vent length but their long tails contribute to total lengths between 94 and 170 mm. Adults have relatively few maxillary teeth (42-70) and 14 to 34 vomerine teeth are present. The webbing between the long, semiconical fingers and toes is thin but extensive. Additionally, O. poelzi has 19 - 20 costal grooves. The long tail in this species is not restricted at its base and is laterally compressed (Brame 1963; Savage 2002).

Oedipina poelzi resembles O. collaris but has a broader, blunt snout, wide head, eyes that are placed more closely together, and slightly longer premaxillary and maxillary teeth. Oedipina poelzi is unique among other members of the genus in that it has relatively long limbs and larger syndactylous feet (Brame 1963).

In life, Oedipina poelzi has a dark brown dorsum and black venter, which are separated by a long lateral stripe that is creamy to silvery in coloration. The tail and legs are dark with dark brown splotches. White chromatophores punctuate the lateral sides of the tail and can be found along the venter. This species has a pale spot above the postiliac gland. In alcohol, the brown dorsum and light lateral stripes are absent, but the white chromatophores can be seen in present. The iris is black (Brame 1963; Savage 2002).

The brown color of the dorsum is variable in Oedipina poelzi and ranges from a lighter orange-brown to dark brown. Yellowish or brown bands and patterning on the head and tail may be present (Brame 1963). This species is sexually dimorphic, as the males are smaller in size and have a mental gland, long premaxillary teeth, papillate venters, and nasolabial protuberances (Savage 2002).

The species authority is: Brame, A. H., Jr. (1963). “A new Costa Rican salamander (genus Oedipina) with a re-examination of O. collaris and O. serpens.” Los Angeles County Museum Contributions in Science 65, 1-12.

The species epithat, poelzi, was chosen after the German herpetologist Friedrich Pölz.

Salamanders of this species may exhibit molecular sequence divergences of up to 13.7% and 4% in the genes cyt b and 16s, respectively (García-París and Wake 2000).

In a recent study naming new species within the genus, Oedipina grandis and O. leptopoda form a clade sister to O. collaris. The clade uniting these three taxa is recovered as the sister group to O. poelzi (McCranie et al. 2008).


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