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Yellow-striped Caecilian
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2






 

 

 

Family : ICHTHYOPHIIDAE
Species : Ichthyophis sp.
Total Length :  This specimen 30 cm.

Caecilians are a separate group of amphibians classed under the order Apoda. Their key identifiable feature is their apparent lack of external limbs, though degenerate limbs are present in most species.

They are wormlike, burrowing animals, with smooth, moist skin which appears narrowly segmented. The eyes are small and covered with skin, and their visual perception is limited to determining between light and dark. They are able to take in oxygen both through their skin and lungs.

They possess a short tail, and the cloaca (the common reproductory and intestinal opening) is close to the end of the body. Two small sensory tentacles are present on the head which probably assist in locating their food source - burrowing invertebrates. The genus Ichthyophis are egg-laying.

Their subterranean lifestyle means they are rarely encountered except, perhaps, after heavy rainfall or in areas of recently disturbed soil.

Six families of Caecilians are recognised, ranging through Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. The family Ichthyophiidae are widespread in Southeast Asia, comprising 40 species or so.


Figs 1 and 2 : This roadkill specimen was found after a localised landslip at Fraser's Hill, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia. It measures around 30 cm in length. The specimen was deposited at the Zoological Reference Collection, Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore.


References : H2, H3