Cave splayfoot salamander

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Cave splayfoot salamander
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Caudata
Family: Plethodontidae
Genus: Chiropterotriton
Species: C. mosaueri
Binomial name
Chiropterotriton mosaueri
Woodall, 1941

The Cave Splayfoot Salamander (Chiropterotriton mosaueri) is a species of salamander in the family Plethodontidae. It is endemic to Mexico, specifically in the Sierra Madre Occidental pine/oak forests[1] of the northern region of Hidalgo, Mexico[2]. The species was thought to be extinct for over 70 years since its first observation and a study of five salamanders executed by Robert Livingston and Harold T. Woodall in 1937[1]. In 2010, this species was spotted for the first time since its 1941 description[3] by Dr. Sean Rovito who identified two individuals during his search for other lost amphibian species[4].

When preserved in alcohol they found the specimens had an overall dark brown coloration with a light tan underbelly[1]. Features of interest were their webbed "spatulate" feet, number of costal grooves (12-13) and tails which were slightly longer in length than the head and body combined[1]. Their proportionally longer limbs, shorter heads, and large quantity of vomerine teeth set them apart from other species of Chiropterotriton.[1] Their natural habitat is believed to be damp caves where they were initially discovered, however the exact locations are unknown[1]. They are threatened by habitat loss due to deforestation and the expansion of agriculture in the region which causes the caves to become dry[2].

The Cave Splayfoot Salamander and the Bigfoot Splayfoot salamander (Chiropterotriton magnipes) are considered to be sympatric since both rare species and observed in the same cave[5].


  1. ^ a b c d e f Woodall, H. T. (1941). ''A new Mexican salamander of the genus Oedipus.'' Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, 444, 1-4.
  2. ^ a b Stuart, S.N., Hoffmann, M., Chanson, J.S., Cox, N.A., Berridge, R.J., Ramani, P., and Young, B.E. (eds.) (2008). Threatened Amphibians of the World. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain; IUCN, Gland, Switzerland; and Conservation International, Arlington, Virginia, USA.
  3. ^ Black, R. 2010. 'Lost' frogs found after decades. BBC News, September 22, 2010.
  4. ^ Ghosh, Subir (September 21, 2010). "'Extinct' species rediscovered after decades lost to science". Digital Journal. 
  5. ^ AmphibiaWeb. 2018. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 15 Apr 2018.