Cave splayfoot salamander

Cave Splayfoot Salamander.  © Sean Rovito
© Sean Rovito
Chiropterotriton mosaueri
"I felt tremendously lucky not only to have found these magnificent salamanders, but also to know that both of these species persist in the wild after so many years."
-Sean Rovito

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.

PRESS RELEASE: Learn more about the rediscovery of this species.

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