Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Amphibians » Asian Tailed Caecilians: Ichthyophiidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Ceylon Caecilian (ichthyophis Glutinosus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, ASIAN TAILED CAECILIANS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

Asian Tailed Caecilians: Ichthyophiidae - Ceylon Caecilian (ichthyophis Glutinosus): Species Account

earthworm soil eat larvae

Physical characteristics: Ceylon caecilians are medium-sized to large caecilians that reach a length of 9 to 16 inches (23 to 41 centimeters). Adults have 342 to 392 rings along the body. The tentacle openings are closer to the eyes than to the nostrils and are close to the sides of the mouth. These caecilians are purplish gray with yellowish cream stripes on the sides.


Geographic range: Ceylon caecilians live in Sri Lanka.


Habitat: Most Ceylon caecilians have been found in areas that were once rainforests but have been converted to farmland. These animals were found in piles of rotting plant matter and manure and in loose, wet soil. One caecilian was dug up from the soil of a moist meadow.

When it grasps its earthworm prey, a Ceylon caecilian moves backward into its burrow while vigorously twisting its head and neck to subdue the worm. Sometimes the caecilian spins its body to break the earthworm into smaller, more manageable pieces. (Illustration by Marguette Dongvillo. Reproduced by permission.)

Diet: Newly transformed and adult Ceylon caecilians mainly eat earthworms but also eat other small invertebrates (in-VER-teh-bre-hts), or animals without backbones, that they find in the leaf litter and soil. Scientists do not know what the larvae eat in the wild, but in captivity they eat small bloodworms and earthworms.


Behavior and reproduction: When it grasps its earthworm prey, a Ceylon caecilian moves backward into its burrow while vigorously twisting its head and neck to subdue the worm. Sometimes the caecilian spins its body to break the earthworm into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Scientists know little about how Ceylon caecilians mate. The females lay twenty-five to thirty-eight large white eggs in jelly strings then place them in hidden nests in the soil. They then coil around the eggs until they hatch. The newly hatched larvae are 3 to 4.5 inches (8 to 11 centimeters) long. The larvae go through metamorphosis after about 280 days.


Ceylon caecilians and people: Ceylon caecilians have no known importance to people.


Conservation status: Ceylon caecilians are not considered threatened or endangered. ∎


FOR MORE INFORMATION

Books:

Duellman, William E., and Linda Trueb. Biology of Amphibians. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.

Lamar, William W. The World's Most Spectacular Reptiles and Amphibians. Tampa, FL: World, 1997.

Lawlor, Elizabeth P. Discover Nature in Water and Wetlands. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole, 2000.

Llamas Ruiz, Andres. Reptiles and Amphibians: Birth and Growth. New York: Sterling, 1996.

Petranka, J. W. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998.


Web sites:

"Caecilian." Animal Bytes. http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-caecilian.html (accessed on April 11, 2005).

Hawes, Alex. "On Waterdogs, Mudpuppies, and the Occasional Hellbender." Zoogoer. http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Publications/ZooGoer/2000/2/waterdogsmudpuppieshellbender.cfm (accessed on April 11, 2005).

Summers, Adam. "Squeeze Play." Natural History. http://biomechanics.bio.uci.edu/_html/nh_biomech/caecilian/caecilian.htm (accessed on April 11, 2005).

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