Sagalla caecilian

An endangered amphibian is native to Sagalla Hill, Kenya, with a range half as big as Manhattan island

Matt Muir

Navigating its subterranean world, the Sagalla caecilian relies on specialized sensory tentacles located on either side of its head. These sensory structures play a vital role in detecting chemical signals from the environment, assisting the caecilian in locating prey and orienting itself in its underground habitat. Their diet primarily consists of termites and earthworms, reflecting their adaptation to life beneath the soil.

The Sagalla caecilian’s burrowing existence is well-suited for its ecological niche, and it spends a significant portion of its life underground. Protective adaptations, such as skin covering its eyes and a robust, bony head, aid it in pushing through the dirt and navigating its subterranean tunnels. These adaptations contribute to their efficient movement through the underground environment.

One of the notable characteristics of the Sagalla caecilian is its egg-laying reproductive mode. Like many caecilians, it is oviparous, which means that the female lays eggs. What sets it apart is the maternal care provided by the female, who guards the eggs until they hatch. This form of parental care is relatively rare among amphibians and showcases the Sagalla caecilian’s commitment to the survival of its offspring.

The Sagalla caecilian is a poorly known species, and little is known about its biology. It is considered to be an endangered species due to habitat loss. Its natural habitat is being cleared for agriculture and human settlement.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Kenya
EN
2012

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No