Gymnoph’ – Caecilians
Limbless, serpentine amphibians distributed in the tropics of South and Central America, Africa, and southern Asia
These amazing amphibians are not even widely known to exist!
Though that makes sense given that people hardly ever see caecilians because they lead extremely secretive lives in burrows or under the water. They lack limbs and may resemble eels or earthworms, depending on whether they are terrestrial or aquatic. Due to their weak vision, they mostly rely on their sense of smell to locate food and partners. Their skin is moist and may have ring-like marks around their body, like all amphibians.
Termites, insects, and vegetative waste have all been found in their meals; however, we don’t know much about what they eat specifically.
Only 25% of the Gymnophiona species we know about are oviparous (egg-laying); the rest are viviparous (give birth to live young).
Families in this order
Native to South America east Andes, these viviparous amphibians are also named rubber eels
Also named Asiatic tailed caecilians are a primitive family, and the only caecilians with true tails & scales on their bodies
Native to Central and East Africa; classified as a family in 1984 and closely related to newly found family Chikilidae
Most diverse Family of the caecilians, typical to have skull with relatively few bones and no tail
Found in Africa, Seychelles and India; formerly placed in family Caeciliidae
Also called buried-eyed caecilians due to their vestigial eyes, attached underneath the snout
Native to Central and South America, members in this Family are Oviparous -laying eggs
Most recent (2012) family of caecilians to be identified, although the type species, Chikila fulleri, was first described in 1904
Native to equatorial South America; widely regarded as the most basal family of caecilians
The only viviparous (give birth to live young) family of caecilians, used to classified in family Caeciliidae