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Caudate taxonomy

Stanton McCandlish mech at eff.org
Tue Jul 9 08:59:28 EST 1996

I'm working on a list of non-anuran amphibians, for a web page (eventually 
to including care tips, etc., but right now mostly just a name list.)  I've 
incorporated all the data I can find at other web sites, and locally 
available books, but have run into a few unanswered questions, and am 
hoping someone or other in this group may know the answers.

1) I've learned that Caudata (a.k.a. Urodela) is divided into suborders.
The only one I know of is Salamandroidae, including the salamanders/newts,
mudpuppies/waterdogs, amphiumas, axolotls, and ensatinas.  This would 
appear to leave out only the sirens, the Cryptobranchidae 
(hellbenders and asian giant salamanders), and the Hynobiidae (no idea 
what those are), maybe. But I am uncertain as to whether or not one or more
of these may actually be in the Salamandroidae.  So the questions are: 
a) What suborders are there besides Salamandroidae?
b) What creatures are in them? 
c) What suborders are cryptobranchids, hynobids and sirens?
d) What are the Hynobiidae? (I only know of one genus & species, Hynobius 
   nigrescens, and do not know a common name or any other info about them.)

2) I've figured out what families almost all of the caudates are in, but
for genus Pseudoeurycea.  I'm guessing this is a plethodontid genus, given
that Eurycea is, but does anyone know for sure?

3) Does anyone know a genus & species name for the barred salamander?  I
saw an ad for one at http://www.mtcnet.com/repcat1.htm
My guess is that it's actually Ambystoma tigrinum mavortium, the barred 
tiger salamander, but then again I certainly don't know the common name 
of every salamander, so there may well be a barred salamander not on my list
under that name, if at all.

4) http://www.paradise.net/animals/amphibians/salamanders.html advertises
a "palm salamander", described as fingerless. The only caudate I know of
that comes even close to such a description is Bolitoglossa subpalmata,
which has very short fingers.  Is "palm salamander" the common name of B. 
subpalmata? The "palm" in "subpalmata" is suggestive; then again the Ouachita
salamander is Desmognathus brimleyorum, while Plethodon ouchitae is the 
Rich Mtn. salamander. Go figure.

5) Are Bolitoglossa platydactyla and B. mexicana the same thing?
If so, which is the most current name?

6) Which is more current, Ambystoma tigrinum mexicanum or A. mexicanum?

7) Which is more current, Triturus palmatus or T. helveticus (assuming
they actually are the same thing)?

8) What are the sub-species of A. tigrinum? I only know a few of them.

9) a) What are the ~6 species of Tylototriton? I only know of T. verrucosus.
I've heard it said that pet stores never really know which they get, and 
just call them all "crocodile newts" or several other common names.  
b) Any idea how to tell them apart?

10) What are the sub-species of Notophthalmus viridescens? As with tiger 
salamanders, I only know the names of a few sub-species.

11) Which is more current, Pseudobranchus striatus axanthus or P. axanthus?

12) In cases where there is a subspecies of something that is arguably a 
subspecies itself, what's the taxonomy? For example, would P. axanthus belli
be P. striatus belli, if P. axanthus turns out to actually be P. striatus 

13) Does anyone have any info on the recently-discovered Salamandra lanai?
How does it differ from S. atra?

14) Are there any recognized S. salamandra subspecies besides salamandra, 
gigliolii, and terrestris?

15) What is the paddle-tail (a.k.a. shovel-nose) newt's taxonomy? I've 
heard it referred to as Cynops ensicauda, but that's the sword-tail newt.
I've read C. ensicauda described as looking very much like C. 
pyrrhogaster (the Japanese firebelly newt), and some consider it to 
actually be C. pyrrhogaster ensicauda.  It is said to have a 
sharp-pointed tail. This does not sound like the shovel-nose/paddle-tail 
at all, which though similar to the fire-belly, is larger, has a 
flattened head, a proportionally longer body, and a much more 
laterally-compressed tail, quite rounded at the end.

16) the Santa Cruz long-toed salamander (endangered sub-species) - is 
it Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum or A. m. croneum?  I've seen both.
Croceum seems more likely, if I know my Latin roots very well (which is 
an iffy proposition).

17) What are the Desmognathus fuscus subspecies? (I only know of fuscus 
and conanti).

Some non-taxonomy questions that come to mind:

1) Can Ambystoma [tigrinum] mexicanum be induced to metamorphose by 
increasing water temperature, the way most Ambysoma tigrinum larvae can?
Or must axolotls be fed hormones or thyroid tissue? (I don't plan to do 
this, just curious.)  I know the latter works, but not sure about the former.

2) How is one to get Notophthalmus viridescens to eat? The dumb things 
seem to be afraid of even tubifex worms, and lumber away rather than take 
a bite.  Has me worried...  Maybe they are eating at night, but the worms 
could just be escaping into the substrate.

Many thanks in advance for any info!

Followup has been set to poster.
<HTML><A HREF="http://www.eff.org/~mech/">    Stanton McCandlish
</A><HR><A HREF="mailto:mech at eff.org">        mech at eff.org
</A><P><A HREF="http://www.eff.org/">         Electronic Frontier Foundation
</A><P><A HREF="http://www.eff.org/A">        Online Activist    </A></HTML>

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