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Tailless Caecilians: Caeciliidae

Physical Characteristics

Tailless caecilians (sih-SILL-yuhns) are small to very large caecilians that have a very short tail or no true tail. These caecilians are 4 to 63 inches (10 to 160 centimeters) long. Some tailless caecilians live on land, and some live only in water. Tailless caecilians have a flat head. The mouth opens on the bottom of the head because the upper jaw is longer than the lower jaw. The eyes are covered by skin or, in some species, by both skin and bone. The tentacles lie between the eyes and 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. Tailless caecilians have one ring per vertebra (VER-teh-bruh, the singular of vertebrae). The skin is folded over the rings, making grooves between the rings.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansTailless Caecilians: Caeciliidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Mexican Caecilian (dermophis Mexicanus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, TAILLESS CAECILIANS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS