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Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Urodela
Family: Plethodontidae
Subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
Genus: Thorius
Cope, 1869

See table.

Thorius, also known as minute salamanders,[1] pigmy salamanders, or Mexican pigmy salamanders, is a genus of salamanders in the family Plethodontidae. They are endemic to Mexico and found in southern Veracruz and Puebla to Guerrero and Oaxaca.[2]

Thorius is the most species-rich tropical salamander genus relative to its distribution area (Bolitoglossa and Pseudoeurycea have many more species but also much wider distribution areas). It is not uncommon for two or even three species to occur in the same place. In such cases, species have diverged in terms of body size and dentition, apparently facilitating niche differentiation.[3]

The members of this genus are characterized by a small body — some species are less than 2 cm (0.79 in) in snout–vent length (tail roughly doubles the total body length). Their extreme miniaturization is accompanied by determinate growth and skeletal reduction. Their skeleton also shows unique features, such as ossifications of many elements that remain cartilaginous in other salamanders. Consequently, they are easy to distinguish from other salamanders. In contrast, they tend to be similar in appearance, making it difficult to distinguish species.[3] However, molecular genetic methods have greatly facilitated identification of new species.[1]


As of November 15, 2016, this genus is composed of the following 29 species:[2][4][5]

Binomial Name and Author Common Name
Thorius adelos
(Papenfuss and Wake, 1987)
Sierra Juarez salamander
Thorius arboreus
Hanken & Wake, 1994
Arboreal minute salamander
Thorius aureus
Hanken & Wake, 1994
Golden minute salamander
Thorius boreas
Hanken & Wake, 1994
Northern minute salamander
Thorius dubitus
Taylor, 1941
Acultzingo minute salamander
Thorius grandis
Hanken, Wake & Freeman, 1999
Grand minute salamander
Thorius hankeni
Campbell, Brodie, Flores-Villela, and Smith, 2014
Hanken's minute salamander
Thorius infernalis
Hanken, Wake & Freeman, 1999
Atoyac minute salamander
Thorius insperatus
Hanken & Wake, 1994
Vista Hermosa minute salamander
Thorius lunaris
Hanken & Wake, 1998
Orizaba minute salamander
Thorius macdougalli
Taylor, 1949
MacDougall's minute salamanders
Thorius magnipes
Hanken & Wake, 1998
Big-footed minute salamander
Thorius maxillabrochus
Gehlbach, 1959
Zoquitlan pigmy salamander
Thorius minutissimus
Taylor, 1949
Oaxacan minute salamander
Thorius minydemus
Hanken & Wake, 1998
La Hoya minute salamander
Thorius munificus
Hanken & Wake, 1998
McDiarmid minute salamander
Thorius narismagnus
Shannon & Werler, 1955
San Martin minute salamander
Thorius narisovalis
Taylor, 1940
Upper Cerro minute salamander
Thorius omiltemi
Hanken, Wake & Freeman, 1999
Omiltemi minute salamander
Thorius papaloae
Hanken & Wake, 2001
Papalo minute salamander
Thorius pennatulus
Cope, 1869
Veracruz minute salamander
Thorius pulmonaris
Taylor, 1940
Lower Cerro minute salamander
Thorius schmidti
Gehlbach, 1959
Schmidt's minute salamander
Thorius smithi
Hanken & Wake, 1994
Smith's minute salamander
Thorius spilogaster
Hanken & Wake, 1998
Spotted minute salamander
Thorius troglodytes
Taylor, 1941
Taylor's minute salamander
Thorius pinicola
Parra-Olea et al., 2016
Pine-dwelling minute salamander
Thorius longicaudus
Parra-Olea et al., 2016
Long-tailed minute salamander
Thorius tlaxiacus
Parra-Olea et al., 2016
Heroic minute salamander


  1. ^ a b Hanken, James; Wake, David B. (1998). "Biology of tiny animals: systematics of the minute salamanders (Thorius: Plethodontidae) from Veracruz and Puebla, México, with descriptions of five new species". Copeia. 1998 (2): 312. doi:10.2307/1447427. JSTOR 1447427.
  2. ^ a b Frost, Darrel R. (2015). "Thorius Cope, 1869". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b Rovito, Sean M.; Parra-Olea, Gabriela; Hanken, James; Bonett, Ronald M.; Wake, David B. (2013). "Adaptive radiation in miniature: the minute salamanders of the Mexican highlands (Amphibia: Plethodontidae: Thorius)". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 109 (3): 622–643. doi:10.1111/bij.12083.
  4. ^ "Plethodontidae". AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  5. ^ PeerJ: Three new species of miniaturized tropical salamanders are already endangered; Parra-Olea G, Rovito SM, García-París M, Maisano JA, Wake DB, Hanken J (2016). "Biology of tiny animals: Three new species of minute salamanders (Plethodontidae:Thorius) from Oaxaca, Mexico". PeerJ. 4: e2694. doi:10.7717/peerj.2694. PMC 5119241. PMID 27896029.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)