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Pseudoeurycea rex

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AMPHIBIA CAUDATA PLETHODONTIDAE

Scientific Name: Pseudoeurycea rex
Species Authority: (Dunn, 1921)
Common Name(s):
English Royal False Brook Salamander
Synonym(s):
Oedipus rex Dunn, 1921
Taxonomic Notes: The animals in Mexico might belong to a new species, however new tissue samples are needed to confirm this (G. Parra-Olea pers. comm. 2007).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2ac ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Acevedo, M., Wake, D., Vasquez, C. & Rovito, S.
Reviewer(s): Stuart, S.N., Chanson, J.S., Cox, N.A. & Young, B.E.
Justification:
Listed as Critically Endangered because of a drastic population decline, estimated to be more than 80% over the last ten years, inferred from observed reduction in density and ongoing habitat loss.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes and the southwestern highlands of Guatemala, including the higher volcanoes. On Volcán Tacana, it also occurs on the Mexican side of the Guatemalan-Mexican border. Its altitudinal range is 2,450 to above 4,000m asl; it is usually found above 2,800m asl.
Countries:
Native:
Guatemala; Mexico
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This was previously an extremely abundant species, occurring at higher densities than any other salamander in Guatemala. It is now extremely rare, with very few specimens recorded during recent surveys (2005 and 2006) (Carlos Vásquez and Sean Rovito pers. comm. 2007). The declines in population do not seem to be linked to habitat modification. A small population was recently found high in the mountains of the San Marcos transect (Ted Papenfuss pers. comm. October 2007); however no animals were encountered at a site in the Cuchumatanes where about 100 had been collecetd in a single day in the 1970s (Ted Papenfuss pers. comm. October 2007). Gustavo Ruanco recently located a population of this salamander in the Cuchumatanes at 3,400m asl (Ted Papenfuss pers. comm. October 2007).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It occurs in the temperate forest zone (pine, fir and cypress forest), par-like forest, and above tree line in open bunchgrass communities. It also survives in degraded forest. It breeds by direct development and is not dependent upon water.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The drastic decline in the population of this species is enigmatic, with further research needed to determine the cause. The species is additionally threatened by habitat loss due to overgrazing by livestock, clear-cutting of forest, and human settlement.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Its range includes the proposed Cuchumatanes National Park and several protected areas on the Pacific slope volcanoes. It has been previously recorded from the Volcán Chicabal Reserve in Guatemala, but was not found on a recent visit (Carlos Vásquez and Sean Rovito pers. comm. 2007). The species is in need of close population monitoring, and research is urgently needed into the population decline. There is a need to establish insurance colonies for this and similar salamander species that have undergone dramatic recent population declines. It is protected by Mexican law under the "Special Protection" category (Pr).

Citation: Acevedo, M., Wake, D., Vasquez, C. & Rovito, S. 2008. Pseudoeurycea rex. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 October 2014.
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