Apoda, also known as Gymnophiona, is an order of long, cylindrical, limbless, sightless amphibians. The members of the Apoda order are called caecillians which is a name derived from the Latin word for “sightless.” Apoda live underground in humid, tropical regions, are typically go unnoticed and are frequently not considered amphibians. Apoda feed on small soft bodied prey, mainly earthworms, that they find with two tentacles on either side of their head and catch with their strong, recurved teeth. Apoda can range in size from 4 inches to 60 inches (10-150 cm). Due to their reclusive, underground nature, not much is known about Apoda and there is still much to learn.

What do caecilians eat?

A caecilian’s mouth is filled with dozens of sharp needle-like teeth and they swallow their food whole. They typically eat soil-dwelling invertebrates like worms, termites, beetle pupae, and mollusks. They may also eat small snakes, frogs, lizards, and other caecilians.

Where do caecilians live?

Caecilians spend most of their lives underground and in stream substrates. Caecilians live in the wet and tropical regions of South and Central America, Africa as well as Southern Asia. Typically, they live in burrows made out of moist soil or forest litter near streams or wetlands.

How do caecilians breed?

Caecilians breed different than other amphibians, as they reproduce through internal fertilization. About half of caecilian species lay eggs protected by the female until hatching occurs. In other species their eggs are kept within the female’s reproductive tract. Once they hatch larvae feed on their egg yolk as well as the lining of the reproductive tract of the mother.

Caecilians Guides
Browse through our curated Caecilians Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of Caecilians. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.
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.39”-.59” | 10-15 mm (Diameter)
.39”-.59” | 10-15 mm (Diameter)
13.8”-15.75” | 35-40 cm
11-20 years
Gaboon Caecilian
1.500
1.500
40.000
20.00
30
3D
Gaboon Caecilian
.59”-1.18” | 15-30 mm (Diameter)
.59”-1.18” | 15-30 mm (Diameter)
11.8”-19.7” | 30-50 cm
10-14 years
Mexican Burrowing Caecilian
3.000
3.000
50.000
14.00
260
3D
Mexican Burrowing Caecilian
.47”-.79” | 12-20 mm (Diameter)
.47”-.79” | 12-20 mm (Diameter)
11”-17.7” | 28-45 cm
1-2 years
Ringed Caecilian
2.000
2.000
45.000
2.00
450
3D
Ringed Caecilian
.79”-.98” | 20-25 mm (Diameter)
.79”-.98” | 20-25 mm (Diameter)
18.1”-22” | 46-56 cm
4-5 years
Rubber Eel
2.500
2.500
56.000
5.00
2300
3D
Rubber Eel
.12”-.31” | 3-8 mm (Diameter)
.12”-.31” | 3-8 mm (Diameter)
5.9”-14.6” | 15-37 cm
1-2 years
Taita African Caecilian
0.800
0.800
37.000
2.00
150
3D
Taita African Caecilian
.31”-.47” | 8-12 mm (Diameter)
.31”-.47” | 8-12 mm (Diameter)
39.4”-59” | 1-1.5 m
10-13 years
Thompson's Caecilian
1.200
1.200
150.000
13.00
180
3D
Thompson's Caecilian
Rubber Eel (Typhlonectes natans)
Dimensioned comparison drawing of the Rubber Eel compared to other caecilians

The Rubber Eel (Typhlonectes natans) inhabits the savannah, tropical dry shrublands, tropical moist shrubland, and flooded lowland grasslands in Venezuela, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago. In these places, it favors underwater or underground environments. Alternatively, you can find it in aquarium stores. The rubber eel can be black or dark gray and breathe through the skin. It resembles a worm because it lacks legs and has an elongated ring-shaped segmented body covered with folds of skin. It is nocturnal and can give birth to seven live young ones. It feeds on worms, small fish, and even crustaceans.

The Rubber Eel has an overall length between 18.1”-22” (46-56 cm) and body diameter of .79”-.98” (20-25 mm). The typical lifespan of the Rubber Eel is between 4-5 years.

Set of scaled top view drawings of the Rubber Eel
The Rubber Eel (Typhlonectes natans) inhabits the savannah, tropical dry shrublands, tropical moist shrubland, and flooded lowland grasslands in Venezuela, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago. In these places, it favors underwater or underground environments.

The Rubber Eel has an overall length between 18.1”-22” (46-56 cm) and body diameter of .79”-.98” (20-25 mm). The typical lifespan of the Rubber Eel is between 4-5 years.

Set of scaled top view drawings of the Rubber Eel
Rubber Eel (Typhlonectes natans)
Height:
.79”-.98” | 20-25 mm (Diameter)
Width:
.79”-.98” | 20-25 mm (Diameter)
Length:
18.1”-22” | 46-56 cm
Depth:
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Typhlonectes natans
Lifespan
4-5 years

Drawings include:
Rubber Eel top view (assorted)

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Thompson's Caecilian (Caecilia thompsoni)
Dimensioned comparison drawing of the Thompson's Caecilian compared to other caecilians

The Thompson’s Caecilian (Caecilia thompsoni) is probably the largest and heaviest known caecilian in existence. It is found in Colombia in tropical and subtropical mountains and moist forests, and rural gardens. Like other caecilians, the body is long, elongated, limbless, and bears a short tail. It also feeds on soil-dwelling invertebrates. It is thought to give birth to live young ones. The skin is dark gray on the upper part and pale gray on the lower part. Besides, it may have segments and several transverse annular folds and annuli dark markings. It has two vestigial eyes, though covered with skin.

The Thompson's Caecilian has an overall length between 39.4”-59” (1-1.5 m) and body diameter of .31”-.47” (8-12 mm). The typical lifespan of the Thompson's Caecilian is between 10-13 years.

Set of scaled top view drawings of the Thompson's Caecilian
The Thompson’s Caecilian (Caecilia thompsoni) is probably the largest and heaviest known caecilian in existence. It is found in Colombia in tropical and subtropical mountains and moist forests, and rural gardens. Like other caecilians, the body is long, elongated, limbless, and bears a short tail.

The Thompson's Caecilian has an overall length between 39.4”-59” (1-1.5 m) and body diameter of .31”-.47” (8-12 mm). The typical lifespan of the Thompson's Caecilian is between 10-13 years.

Set of scaled top view drawings of the Thompson's Caecilian
Thompson's Caecilian (Caecilia thompsoni)
Height:
.31”-.47” | 8-12 mm (Diameter)
Width:
.31”-.47” | 8-12 mm (Diameter)
Length:
39.4”-59” | 1-1.5 m
Depth:
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Caecilia thompsoni
Lifespan
10-13 years

Drawings include:

Thompson's Caecilian top view (assorted)

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Mexican Burrowing Caecilian (Dermophis mexicanus)
Comparison illustration of the size of a Mexican Burrowing Caecilian to other caecilians

Until you give it a close inspection, you may think the Mexican Burrowing Caecilian (Dermophis mexicanus) is an earthworm. However, it is a limbless amphibian. It is also called Mexican caecilian, tepelcua, or tapalcua found in Mexico and other parts of Central America. Here, you will find it under plant debris or leaf litter. This amphibian has a large elongated body with a head and a pointed snout. The skin is dark gray on the upper part and pale gray on the lower part. The skin may have several transverse annular folds and annuli dark markings. It has two vestigial eyes, though covered with skin. The Mexican Burrowing Caecilian is viviparous, nocturnal, and feeds on ground invertebrates.

The Mexican Burrowing Caecilian has an overall length between 11.8”-19.7” (30-50 cm) and body diameter of .59”-1.18” (15-30 mm). The typical lifespan of the Mexican Burrowing Caecilian is between 10-14 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Mexican Burrowing Caecilian in various poses
Until you give it a close inspection, you may think the Mexican Burrowing Caecilian (Dermophis mexicanus) is an earthworm. However, it is a limbless amphibian. It is also called Mexican caecilian, tepelcua, or tapalcua found in Mexico and other parts of Central America.

The Mexican Burrowing Caecilian has an overall length between 11.8”-19.7” (30-50 cm) and body diameter of .59”-1.18” (15-30 mm). The typical lifespan of the Mexican Burrowing Caecilian is between 10-14 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Mexican Burrowing Caecilian in various poses
Mexican Burrowing Caecilian (Dermophis mexicanus)
Height:
.59”-1.18” | 15-30 mm (Diameter)
Width:
.59”-1.18” | 15-30 mm (Diameter)
Length:
11.8”-19.7” | 30-50 cm
Depth:
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Dermophis mexicanus
Lifespan
10-14 years

Drawings include:

Mexican Burrowing Caecilian top view (assorted)

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Ringed Caecilian (Siphonops annulatus)
Scale illustration of an average Ringed Caecilian compared to other caecilian species

The Ringed Caecilian (Siphonops annulatus) is a cylindrical terrestrial caecilian species possessing oral venomous glands. Its dark blue wide body is encircled with white or cream annular grooves. However, the head is usually narrower. It has a short tail and tentacles below each eye to help it process information. It is widely distributed in most South American countries in dry savannah, moist savannah, rural gardens, and flooded lowland pastures. This caecilian is oviparous and shows great parental care. Females caring for the young have opaque whitish blue color making it easy to separate them from the males. The ringed caecilian feeds on soil-dwelling invertebrates.

The Ringed Caecilian has an overall length between 11”-17.7” (28-45 cm) and body diameter of .47”-.79” (12-20 mm). The typical lifespan of the Ringed Caecilian is between 1-2 years.

Series of top view illustrations of the Ringed Caecilian
The Ringed Caecilian (Siphonops annulatus) is a cylindrical terrestrial caecilian species possessing oral venomous glands. Its dark blue wide body is encircled with white or cream annular grooves. However, the head is usually narrower. It has a short tail and tentacles below each eye.

The Ringed Caecilian has an overall length between 11”-17.7” (28-45 cm) and body diameter of .47”-.79” (12-20 mm). The typical lifespan of the Ringed Caecilian is between 1-2 years.

Series of top view illustrations of the Ringed Caecilian
Ringed Caecilian (Siphonops annulatus)
Height:
.47”-.79” | 12-20 mm (Diameter)
Width:
.47”-.79” | 12-20 mm (Diameter)
Length:
11”-17.7” | 28-45 cm
Depth:
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Siphonops annulatus
Lifespan
1-2 years

Drawings include:

Ringed Caecilian top view (assorted)

Details & Downloads

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Taita African Caecilian (Boulengerula taitana)
Scale illustration of an average Taita African Caecilian compared to other caecilian species

The Taita African Caecilian (Boulengerula taitana) is a burrowing caecilian found in Kenya, especially in montane forests with rich moist soils in the Taita Hills region. It is also called Taita Mountains caecilian or Taita Hills Caecilian. It can be omnivores or detritivores. It lays between two to nine eggs. Once the young hatch, they feed on the mother’s rich nutritious skin. Like most caecilians, it is blind, nocturnal, terrestrial, and spends most of the time underground. Males are a little longer than females. While juveniles are unpigmented, adults have blue skin covered in contrasting annulation.

The Taita African Caecilian has an overall length between 5.9”-14.6” (15-37 cm) and body diameter of .12”-.31” (3-8 mm). The typical lifespan of the Taita African Caecilian is between 1-2 years.

Series of top view illustrations of the Taita African Caecilian
The Taita African Caecilian (Boulengerula taitana) is a burrowing caecilian found in Kenya, especially in montane forests with rich moist soils in the Taita Hills region. It is also called Taita Mountains caecilian or Taita Hills Caecilian. It can be omnivores or detritivores.

The Taita African Caecilian has an overall length between 5.9”-14.6” (15-37 cm) and body diameter of .12”-.31” (3-8 mm). The typical lifespan of the Taita African Caecilian is between 1-2 years.

Series of top view illustrations of the Taita African Caecilian
Taita African Caecilian (Boulengerula taitana)
Height:
.12”-.31” | 3-8 mm (Diameter)
Width:
.12”-.31” | 3-8 mm (Diameter)
Length:
5.9”-14.6” | 15-37 cm
Depth:
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Boulengerula taitana
Lifespan
1-2 years

Drawings include:

Taita African Caecilian top view (assorted)

Details & Downloads

Downloads

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3D Downloads

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