1 minute read

Asian Tailed Caecilians: Ichthyophiidae

Physical Characteristics

Asian tailed caecilians (sih-SILL-yuhns) are medium-sized to large caecilians that have a true tail. The mouth opens at the bottom of the head because the upper jaw is longer than the lower jaw. The jaw has a dual-action mechanism like a seesaw. The tentacle openings in Asian tailed caecilians are in front of the eyes, usually no more than halfway to the nostrils.

Caecilians look like earthworms. A series of rings runs the length of the body starting just behind the head. The rings are inside the body and attached to the vertebrae (VER-teh-bree), or the bones that make up the spinal column. Asian tailed caecilians have three rings per vertebra (VER-teh-bruh, the singular of vertebrae). Some species have as many as 420 rings. The skin is folded over the rings, making grooves between the rings. In Asian tailed caecilians the grooves go all the way around the body. The second and third sets of rings make shallower grooves than the main set. Asian tailed caecilians have a large number of scales under the skin in all the ring grooves.

Asian tailed caecilians are either solid purplish gray or purplish gray with paler stripes of the same color. Adult Asian tailed caecilians are 7 to 22 inches (18 to 56 centimeters) long from tip of snout to tip of tail.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansAsian 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