Some species’ babies use their hooked or scraper-like teeth to peel off and eat their mother’s skin
Caecilian Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Caecilia Linnaeus
Caecilian Physical Characteristics
Brown, Grey, Yellow, Black, Orange
up to 13 years in a zoo
Up to 2.2 pounds
Caecilian Distribition

” There are 192 species worldwide, varying in dimension from 3 inches to 5 feet long!”

Caecilians are smooth- skinned, limbless amphibians that vary in dimension from 3 inches to 5 feet long. A few of the 192 species belonging to damp and exotic areas appear like earthworms and various other bigger species appear like snakes. Some have brief tails while others have none in all. Although the amphibians are foreign to the Americas past southerly Mexico, one was located to life in a canal in South Florida in 2021. It was more than likely moved to the state and unlawfully presented as component of the wild animals profession. Or else, various species are located in South America, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, India, Central America, and Seychelles. The majority of species live underground, delving where they do not require to listen to or see and hence have no noticeable ears and just small or surprise eyes underneath their skin.

5 Unbelievable Caecilian Realities!

  • Some have eyes underneath their skin while others have no eyes in all
  • The only amphibians with arms
  • The several various species compose a rainbow of shades
  • Their tough heads with sharp noes allow them to delve below ground
  • Children remove and eat their mommy’s skin

Scientific Name

These amphibians obtain their name from the Latin word that implies blind, caecus. All contemporary and extinct species drop under the scientific name and order Gymnophiona. However there is still much discussion amongst researchers concerning this name with several declaring the animals need to drop under the scientific name Apoda, implying “without feet.” Just 9 family members and under 200 species were understood to exist till after 2011 when a 10th family called Chikilidae was found.

Family members of caecilians consist of:

  • Rhinatrematidae
  • Ichthyophiidae
  • Scolecomorphidae
  • Herpelidae
  • Chikilidae
  • Caeciliidae
  • Typhlonectidae
  • Indotyphlidae
  • Siphonopidae
  • Dermophiidae

Appearance & & Actions

Caecilian on moss covered rock
Caecilians have no arm or legs and look a great deal like worms or snakes.

RealityImages/Shutterstock. com

Caecilians have no arm or legs and look similar to worms or snakes, depending upon the species dimension. Their dimension varies from the tiniest at 3 inches to the most significant at nearly 5 feet long. They either have a brief tail or none in all. Their unsafe smooth skin arrays in shade according to species, too. The majority of are brownish, grey, black, orange, or yellow, yet some are extra vibrant.

Their skin covers calcite ranges with the exception of the species of the Scolecomorphidae and Typhlonectidae family members. The Typhlonectes compressicauda of the Typhlonectidae family is the only exemption to that policy with ranges on the reduced area of its body. Caecilians show up fractional due to ring- designed folds up showing up on their bodies. They additionally have glands in their skin that produces contaminants to fend offpredators Some are thought to have poisonous attacks like snakes, also. They have several sharp teeth that function like fangs to assist them capture their victim and ingest it entire.

Among one of the most noticeable attributes of caecilians is their absence of eyes or the existence of just grey eye- like dots underneath their skin. They just can compare dark and light and can not or else see. Due to the fact that they invest the majority of their time delving underground, they do not require vision.

Various other adjustments for their delving way of life consist of a tough head with a sharp nose and recessed mouth that allow them to compel with dust or mud extra conveniently. The worm- like animals additionally have solid muscle mass able to press with the ground. They can swim in water like an eel yet need to pertain to the surface area to take a breath. Some big species are marine, having a fin along the back of their bodies.

All caecilians have 2 arms situated over their nostrils and underneath their eyes. These are made use of to notice their atmosphere in mix with the nasal feeling of odor. They are the only amphibians with arms. Although many have actually interior ears concealed under their skin, researchers think they might have the ability to feeling resonances. Species in the family Scolecomorphidae are the only amphibians that do not have any type of components of the center ear.

With the exception of one species, all caecilians have lungs. However they can additionally utilize their skin to take in oxygen. Like snakes, several species have one lung that is smaller sized than the various other due to their physique.

Researchers understand little concerning exactly how these animals live, their requirements, or their personality. It is unclear exactly how they associate with each various other or whether they live solely singular lives.


Of the numerous species of caecilians, many real-time underground where they delve, have their young, and quest for victim. Some endeavor right into superficial streams of their primarily damp and exotic environments. They are belonging to Central America, South America, South Africa, Central Africa, South Asia, and Southeastern Asia. Individuals hardly ever see them in the wild due to the fact that they live underground. However one species from Ecuador, the large Caecilia pachynema, concerns the surface area throughout rainstorms and during the night. Some can hold their breath undersea for as much as thirty minutes prior to going back to the surface area for air.

Predators & & Threats

Caecilians utilize their rows of sharp fangs to record their victim. They have actually been observed securing down onto earthworms and rolling like a moving pin in the dust underground to stun and drag the worm right into their burrow. They ingest their victim whole like a python rather than eating the food up right into little bits. Scientists think that some species have poison glands behind some teeth like rattlesnakes. This might additionally assist them restrain their victim. They additionally are the only amphibians to have 2 collections of jaw muscle mass, making their jaws and mouths really solid.

What does the caecilian eat?

Researchers do not yet understand what many caecilians eat. However they have actually seen restricted species consuming earthworms, crickets, and termites. In caught samplings, they have actually located little bits of termites, earthworms, beetle pupae, mollusks, little snakes, frogs, lizards, little fish, larvae, insects, various other invertebrates, and various other caecilians in their tummies.

What consumes the caecilian?

A few of these amphibians’ predators consist of snakes, fish, chickens, pigs, and tenrecs. However due to the fact that these animals invest the majority of their lives below ground and several species are recently found, researchers do not yet understand even more concerning their all-naturalpredators Some species’ skin produces contaminants to make them disagreeable to predators.

Although there go to the very least 192 well-known species of caecilians, the IUCN Red Checklist just tracks concerning 185 species currently. Of these, the huge bulk are noted with an Unidentified condition. Much less than 10 species are noted as Secure and 13 are Reducing in numbers. Of those tracked by the IUCN, 3 are Near Threatened, 4 are Vulnerable, 10 are noted as Endangered and one, the Mount Oku Caecilian of Cameroon, is Seriously Endangered. The most significant hazard to these animals is the loss of environment as a result of non- hardwood farming and fire.

Recreation, Children, and Life Expectancy

The recreation and child- rearing of caecilians are really intriguing. All species of these amphibians replicate utilizing interior insemination. The male has a long, tube- like phallodeum made use of to fertilize the female. Each reproductive link takes 2 to 3 hrs prior to the friends different. Regarding one- quarter of the species are understood to lay their eggs in below ground dens or water. The various other 75% have infants with real-time birth. After birth or hatching, the young of some species remain with their mommy for 4 to 6 weeks.

Among one of the most intriguing aspects of their recreation and birth is exactly how some moms feed their young. The moms expand enlarged layers of skin. The young usage hook- like or scrape- like fangs to pluck this skin, tear it away and eat it. Researchers have actually found proof of this feeding happening when the young of some species are still inside the mommy’s womb. This task does not hurt or injure the mommy. Her skin cells are plumped up with fat throughout this stage, particularly to feed her young.

Some species have actually been attended bring to life 2 to 25 real-time young. Others lay in between 30 and 60 eggs.

Caecilians in zoos have actually lived for as lengthy as 13 years. However their life expectancy in the wild is not understood. It is anticipated to differ extensively by species.


Of the 185 species, the IUCN currently notes, the bulk are not tracked or are noted as Least Concern or Information Lacking. However 13 species are noted as lowering in numbers. 10 are noted as steady, 3 are Near Threatened, 4 are Vulnerable, 10 are Endangered and one is Seriously Endangered. That seriously endangered species is the Mount Oku Caecilian of Cameroon, Africa.


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  13. IUCN (1970) Jump to top

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