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Bolitoglossa subpalmata Boulenger 1896

Endangered (IUCN 3.1)

Common name

La Palma Salamander


The species Bolitoglossa subpalmata actually occurs in northern Costa Rica (Savage 2002). More southern populations are probably a new species.



Species description based on Savage (2002). Medium-sized species with a rather robust body. Adults range from 71-131 mm, including the tail. Tail is generally longer than the body.


The dorsal surface ranges in color from black to grey to red-brown. The color may be uniform or some red, brown or yellow coloration may be present along the center of the dorsal surface.


The ventral surface is also variable in color, ranging from light to dark brown, to grey or black. Some specimens have flecks of white, brown or red on the ventral surface.


Hands and feet moderately webbed.

Ecology behavior and evolution


This species is relatively common in Costa Rica and may be found in bromeliads above the forest floor or on the ground under objects (Savage 2002).

Taxonomy and systematics



Boulenger 1896


Magnadigita subpalmata, Oedipus subpalmatus, Spelerpes subpalmatus

Type locality

La Palma (Costa Rica)

Habitat and distribution


Montane rainforest, marginally down to premontane forest, 1245-2900 m elevation.


Costa Rica, Panama


Bolitoglossa subpalmata distribution
Distrubution map (IUCN)


Boulenger, GA. 1896. Descriptions of new batrachians collected by Mr. C. G. Underwood in Costa Rica. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 6 18: 340-342.

García-París, M, DA Good, G Parra-Olea, and DB Wake. 2000. Biodiversity of Costa Rican salamanders: implications of high levels of genetic differentiation and phylogeographic structure for species formation. PNAS 97(4): 1640-1647.

Garcia-Paris, M, G Parra-Olea, and DB Wake. 2008. Description of a new species of Bolitoglossa subpalmata group (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from Costa Rica. Herpetological Journal 18: 23-31.

Ibáñez, R, F Solís, C Jaramillo, and AS Rand. 2000. An overwiew of the herpetology of Panama. In: Johnson, JD, RG Webb, and OA Flores-Villela. Eds. Mesoamerican Herpetology: Systematics, Zoogeography and Conservation, pp. 159-170. The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas.

Parra-Olea, G, M Garcia-Paris, and DB Wake. 2004. Molecular diversification of salamanders of the tropical American genus Bolitoglossa (Caudata: Plethodontidae) and its evolutionary and biogeographical implications. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 81: 325-346.

Raffaelli, J. 2007. Les Urodèles du Monde. Penclen Édition, France.

Savage, JM. 2002. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A Herpetofauna between two Continents, between two Seas. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Vial, JL. 1968. The ecology of the tropical salamander, Bolitoglossa subpalmata, in Costa Rica. Revista de Biologia Tropical 15: 13-115.

Wake, DB. 1987. Adaptive radiation of salamanders in Middle American cloud forests. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 74(2): 242-264.