Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cave Splayfoot Salamander | Chiropterotriton mosaueri • crevice-dwelling Salamander from pine-oak forest in Mexico

Cave Splayfoot Salamander | Chiropterotriton mosaueri
Hidalgo Province, Mexico
Not seen since the discovery of a single individual in 1941.

The previous last known sighting of the Cave splayfoot salamander was of one individual salamander in 1941 – the same year it was first discovered. Despite many searches in caves along its presumed range, it has only now been rediscovered 70 years later by Sean Rovito.

Following local residents of Durango, Hidalgo, Mexico to a cave used as a source of water for the community, Sean spotted the Cave splayfoot salamander shortly after entering. After exploring some distance into the cave he found another C. mosaueri, as well as a Chiropterotriton magnipes crawling upside down on the cave ceiling – a species only seen once in the last ten years.

The Cave splayfoot salamander is a crevice-dweller that apparently requires humid caverns in pine-oak forest in order to survive. The forest habitat surrounding the caves is under severe pressure from expanding agriculture, and from wood extraction. Like Chiropterotriton magnipes, this species might have disappeared due to the drying of its caves following the removal of forest.

Making a Splash – "Extinct" Amphibians Rediscovered After Decades Lost to Science:

Pictures: "Extinct" Frogs, Salamander Found:
Photos: 'Lost amphibian' search makes good: three 'extinct' species rediscovered :