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First Record of Amphibians in Walter Thilo Deininger Protected Natural Area in El Salvador By 1Emanuel S. Morán


overing only 20,095 km2, El Salvador is the smallest country in the Americas. The limited data on the distribution of amphibians in the El Salvador means that there is still much to be discovered, especially within the network of protected areas. The different ecosystems in the country, ranging from coastal forests to mountain forests, estimating that the richest ecosystem focuses on deciduous forests (dry forests) (1). Of the 34,000 ha of deciduous forest in the country, only 9,700 ha are afforded some level of protection under the law of Natural Protected Areas (2). Two thousand, five hundred and twenty one hectares fall within the Tropical Deciduous Forest Conservation Area, Costa Balsamo, within the Walter Thilo Deininger Protected Natural Area (3). The Walter Thilo Deininger Protected Natural Area (WTD), located in the southern part of the central region of canton San Diego, La Libertad, covers an area of 732 ha with an altitudinal range of 20280 m. The WTD comprises of tropical semi-deciduous broad leaf lowland forest, tropical deciduous forest, tropical broadleafevergreen forest and alluvial lowland, with the Chanseñora and Amayo Rivers supporting riparian forest (Fig.1, 2). Thirteen species of amphibians from seven families in two orders (Anura and Caudata) were identified within WTD demonstrating a uniquerichness of this area (Table 1). From this research, two scientific notes have been published on Oedipina taylori and Hypopachus variolosus. Oedipina taylori is a salamander native to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador with an altitudinal range of 1-140m. However a recent observation of the species in WTD recorded the individual at 25 m, well outside its normal distribution and suggesting its possible existence in other coastal forests on the Pacific slope of Guatemala and El Salvador (4). The distribution of Hypopachus variolosus also appears to be broader with an observation made at 28 m where former distributions identified the species being restricted between 200-1,800m in El Salvador (5).

Fig. 2. River Amayo of Protected Nature Area Park Walter T. Deininger. Photo: Emanuel S. Morán.

The uniqueness of WTD includes the habitats that are found within the area, the lack of human interference and the presence of 39% of amphibians of El Salvador. Although our research was conducted in protected habitat, there are a variety of threats that currently affect WTD. Urban expansion, tourist developments, the use of pesticides for agriculture and forest fires caused as a result of agricultural burning practices, are all putting increasing pressure on WTD. These findings increase our understanding of the ecology and distribution for amphibians in El Salvador especially with regards to the dry forests of the region. Our work helps sets the stage to further advance the study of amphibians and makes active steps towards developing a better understanding of how to manage the different habitats in El Salvador. Family Plethodontidae

Species Oedipina taylori Incilius coccifer


Incilius luetkenii


Craugastor rupinius

Rhinella marina

Scinax staufferi Hylidae

Smilisca baudinii Trachycephalus typhonius Engystomops pustulosus


Leptodactylus fragilis Leptodactylus melanonotus

Fig. 1. Panoramic vista of Protected Nature Area Park Walter T. Deininger. Photo: Emanuel S. Morán.

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, Regional Member (El Salvador):



Hypopachus variolosus


Lithobates forreri

Table 1. Record of amphibians in Park Walter Thilo Deininger.

FrogLog 22 (2), Number 110 (April 2014) | 67

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FrogLog, Conservation news for the herpetological community.


FrogLog, Conservation news for the herpetological community.