Bolitoglossa conanti — Overview

Conant's Mushroomtongue Salamander learn more about names for this taxon

IUCN threat status:

Endangered (EN)

Comprehensive Description

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Description

Bolitoglossa conanti has a standard length of approximately 38.3 - 50.5 mm in males and 41.0 - 60.7 mm in females. The head is narrow and the snout is short. There is a distinct groove below the eye that does not extend onto the lip. The labial protuberences are well developed in both sexes, but especially prominent in males. The eye does not protrude from the head when viewed from below in males. There is a shallow post-orbital groove that extends irregularly from the posterior side of the eye downward to the posterior side of the mandible, down the anterior of the throat to the gular fold. Males have oval-shaped mental glands. There are abundant vomerine teeth, and in males the enlarged premaxillary teeth pierce the lips. Females have a more robust body type than males, which are slender. The limbs are slender and moderately long. The intercostal distance between adpressed limbs is 0 - 1 costal fold in males and 0.5 - 2 in females. The discrete digits are expanded into subterminal pads. Webbing is moderate in forelimbs and hindlimbs; The third digit of the hand has 1.5 phalanges on the inside and 1.5 - 2 phalanges on the outside free of webbing. The webbing between the third and four toe leaves 1.5 - 2 phalanges free of webbing. Relative finger length is 3 > 4 > 2 > 1. Relative toe length is 3 > 4 > 2 > 5 > 1. The tail is long, slightly compressed laterally and is constricted near the base (McCranie et al. 1993).

Bolitoglossa conanti can be distinguished from its close relatives within the B. dunni group by its dorsal coloration patterns and toe webbing. Other members of the B. dunni group are mahogany red over the whole body while B. conanti is sepia with either a reddish-brown strip stretching form the snout onto the tail or gold spotting. Additionally, the subcaudal region of B. conanti is tan to dark brown and the top of the feet in B. conanti lacks any conspicuous gold spots. Bolitoglossa conanti also differs from other species by teeth, webbing of the hands and feet, head width, and relative total length. More specifically, B. conanti differs from B. cuchumatana by the former having a broad stripe and/or speckling (see above), and toe webbing that leaves 1.5 - 2 phalanges between toes 3 and 4 free while the latter has pale dorsolateral stripes on dorsum, a background color of pale orange-yellow with gray mottling on the subcaudal region, and toe webbing that frees 0.5 - 1 phalanges between toes 3 and 4. Bolitoglossa conanti differs from B. engelharti by the latter having a uniform dorsal coloration with no patterning, smaller total length averaging 39.9 mm, more maxillary teeth (49.5 in the latter species and 47 in B. conanti), and one phalange of the longest toe free of webbing. Bolitoglossa conanti differs from B. helmrichi by the latter having an orange subcaudal region and having only the distal tip free of the longest toe free of webbing. Bolitoglossa conanti differs from B. rostrata by the latter having pale dorsolateral stripes or a uniform dorsum, a uniform subcaudal region ranging in color from pale beige to dull yellow, having a larger total length (average of 53.2 mm in males and 59.3 in females), and having more than 2 phalanges free of webbing (McCranie et al. 1993).

In life, coloration is variable from sepia to amber. The species has two main color phases but may also exhibit intermediate patterning. One phase is a pale, orange-rufous to brown longitudinal band from snout tip to the dorsal tail surface. The other has dark brown dorsal surfaces with gold spotting or blotching. The subcaudal surface is spotted with gold and sometimes silver on a tan to dark brown background. Irises are also variable ranging from rufous brown to gold with brown or black patterning. Two preserved specimens had dark brown dorsal surfaces with lighter brown spots. (McCranie et al. 1993).

Coloration patterns vary between the two described phases with intermediate stages. The maxillary and vomerine tooth number is also somewhat variable. Females are more robust than males, lack mental glands, have premaxillary teeth behind the lip (rather than piercing), and have eyes that are not visible from the ventral view (McCranie et al. 1993).

The species authority is: McCranie, J. R., and Wilson, L. D. (1993). ''A review of the Bolitoglossa dunni group (Amphibia: Caudata) from Honduras with the description of three new species.'' Herpetologica, 49, 1-15.

The species is named in honor of Roger Conant, for his contributions to the field of herpetology (McCranie et al. 1993).

Bolitoglossa conanti is a member of the Bolitoglossa dunni group (McCranie et al. 1993). It is also included in subgenus Magnadigita (Frost 2011; Wiens et al. 2007).

Bolitoglossa conanti is associated with Tillandsia sp. arboreal bormeliads and occurs sympatrically with B. dunni, B. rufescens, and Cryptotriton nasalis (McCraine et al. 1993).

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