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Kerala Caecilians: Uraeotyphylidae - Physical Characteristics

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansKerala Caecilians: Uraeotyphylidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Red Caecilian (uraeotyphlus Oxyurus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, KERALA CAECILIANS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS


Kerala caecilians (sih-SILL-yuhns) are small to medium-sized caecilians. Their upper jaw is much longer than the lower jaw, so the mouth opens on the bottom of the head. This type of jaw makes the animals good burrowers. Red caecilians have a short tail and small eyes. The tentacle openings are far forward of the eye, below 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. Kerala caecilians have two rings per vertebra (VER-teh-bruh, the singular of vertebrae). The skin is folded over the rings, making grooves between the rings. The grooves of Kerala caecilians do not go all the way around the body. The second set of rings makes shallower grooves than the main set. Kerala caecilians have a large number of scales under the skin of the grooves.

Kerala caecilians are either nearly solid dark gray or dark gray with a whitish to yellowish cream belly. Newly transformed young Kerala caecilians and adults are 6 to 12 inches (14.5 to 30 centimeters) long.

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