Nototriton lignicola, copyright Josiah Townsend.

Belongs within: Diadectosalamandroidei.
Contains: Plethodon, HydromantesDesmognathus, Spelerpinae, BatrachosepsChiropterotriton, Bolitoglossa, Pseudoeurycea, Oedipina.

The Plethodontidae are a diverse lineage of salamanders found mostly in the Americas, with a smaller number of species in Europe and east Asia. Their most distinctive feature is the absence of lungs, with respiration instead occurring through the skin. Many species have a projectile tongue that may be extended up to half the body length (Lombard & Wake 1986). Members of the subfamily Bolitoglossinae and most species of the Plethodontinae are direct developers, laying eggs on land that hatch into miniature adults without going through a larval phase. The larval phase is retained in Spelerpinae, Hemidactylium and most species of Desmognathus, and some species of Spelerpinae are neotenic.

Synapomorphies (from Frost et al. 2006): Stylus absent from opercular apparatus; periotic connective tissue present; periotic cistern small; basilaris complex absent; recessus amphibiorum with vertical orientation; palatal dentition replacement both laterally and posteriorly; lungs absent.

Plethodontidae [Hemidactyliini]
|--Plethodontinae [Desmognathinae, Plethodontini]PW11
| | i. s.: Leurognathus marmorata Moore 1899LW86, W08
| |--PlethodonPW11
| `--+--HydromantesPW11
| `--+--Ensatina Gray 1850PW11, FG06 [Ensatinina]
| | `--E. eschscholtzii Gray 1850W08
| | |--E. e. eschscholtziiJAW97
| | |--E. e. croceaterJAW97
| | `--E. e. oregonensisJAW97
| `--+--Karsenia Min, Yang et al. 2005MY05
| | `--*K. koreana Min, Yang et al. 2005MY05
| `--+--+--DesmognathusPW11
| | `--Phaeognathus Highton 1961PW11, FG06
| | `--P. hubrichti Highton 1961W08
| `--Aneides Baird 1851MY05, FG06
| |--A. aeneusPW11
| `--+--A. hardiiPW11
| `---+--A. lugubrisPW11
| `--+--A. flavipunctatus (Strauch 1870)PW11, W08
| `--+--A. ferreusPW11
| `--A. vagransPW11
`--+--Hemidactylium Tschudi 1838FG06 [Hemidactylidae, HemidactyliinaePW11]
| `--H. scutatum (Temminck & Schlegel 1838)W08 [=*Dermodactylus scutatumL50]
`--Bolitoglossinae [Bolitoglossidae, Bolitoglossini]PW11
`--+--Thorius Cope 1869PW11, FG06 [Thoriidae]
| | i. s.: T. pennatulus Cope 1869W08
| | T. schmidti Gehlbach 1959W08
| |--T. minutissimusPW11
| `--+--T. dubitusPW11
| `--T. troglodytes Taylor 1941PW11, W08
| `--+--PseudoeuryceaPW11
| `--Parvimolge Taylor 1944PW11, FG06
| `--P. townsendiPW11
`--+--+--Dendrotriton Wake & Elias 1983PW11, FG06
| | `--D. rabbiPW11
| `--Nyctanolis Elias & Wake 1983PW11, FG06
| `--N. pernixPW11
`--+--Cryptotriton García-Paris & Wake 2000PW11, FG06
| |--C. alvarezdeltoroiPW11
| `--+--C. nasalisPW11
| `--C. veraepacisPW11
| `--Bradytriton Wake & Elias 1983PW11, FG06
| `--B. silusPW11
`--Nototriton Wake & Elias 1983PW11, FG06
|--+--+--N. barbouriPW11
| | `--N. brodieiPW11
| `--+--N. lignicolaPW11
| `--N. limnospectatorPW11
`--+--N. richardiPW11
`--+--N. guanacastePW11
`--+--N. picadoi (Stejneger 1911)PW11, W08
`--+--N. abscondensPW11
`--N. gameziPW11

Plethodontidae incertae sedis:
Oedipus Tschudi 1838 [Oedipina]FG06
|--M. cerroensisBW62
|--M. hypacra Brame & Wake 1962BW62
|--M. marmoreaBW62
|--M. nigrescensBW62
|--M. pesrubraBW62
|--M. robustaBW62
|--M. subpalmataBW62
`--M. torresiBW62

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BW62] Brame, A. H., Jr & D. B. Wake. 1962. A new plethodontid salamander (genus Magnadigita) from the Cordillera Occidental of Colombia. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 75: 71–76.

[FG06] Frost, D. R., T. Grant, J. Faivovich, R. H. Bain, A. Haas, C. F. B. Haddad, R. O. de Sá, A. Channing, M. Wilkinson, S. C. Donnellan, C. J. Raxworthy, J. A. Campbell, B. L. Blotto, P. Moler, R. C. Drewes, R. A. Nussbaum, J. D. Lynch, D. M. Green & W. C. Wheeler. 2006. The amphibian tree of life. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 297: 1–370.

[JAW97] Jackman, T. R., G. Applebaum & D. B. Wake. 1997. Phylogenetic relationships of bolitoglossine salamanders: a demonstration of the effects of combining morphological and molecular data sets. Molecular Biology and Evolution 14 (8): 883–891.

[L50] Liu, C.-C. 1950. Amphibians of western China. Fieldiana: Zoology Memoirs 2: 1–400.

[LW86] Lombard, R. E., & D. B. Wake. 1986. Tongue evolution in the lungless salamanders, family Plethodontidae. IV. Phylogeny of plethodontid salamanders and the evolution of feeding dynamics. Systematic Zoology 35 (4): 532–551.

[MY05] Min, M. S., S. Y. Yang, R. M. Bonett, D. R. Vieites, R. A. Brandon & D. B. Wake. 2005. Discovery of the first Asian plethodontid salamander. Nature 435: 87–90.

[PW11] Pyron, R. A., & J. J. Wiens. 2011. A large-scale phylogeny of Amphibia including over 2800 species, and a revised classification of extant frogs, salamanders, and caecilians. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 61: 543–583.

[W08] Warburg, M. R. 2008. Temporal variations in body dimensions followed for 25 years in a breeding population of adult salamanders, with a partial review on other Urodela (Amphibia, Urodela, Salamandridae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 88 (1): 81–101.

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