Caecilians | Apoda

Caecilians | Apoda

Description
Description

Caecilians, belonging to the order Apoda, are a group of limbless, serpentine amphibians. Unlike their frog and salamander cousins, caecilians are characterized by their elongated bodies, concealed ears, and small or absent eyes, adaptations for a burrowing lifestyle. They inhabit tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and the Americas, thriving in moist, secluded environments like forest soil and under leaf litter. Evolving over 250 million years ago, caecilians are one of the oldest amphibian lineages. Their secretive nature and subterranean habits make them less known and studied, but they play a crucial role in soil aeration and the ecosystem's nutrient cycle.

Anatomy
Anatomy

Caecilians are intriguing amphibians with elongated, worm-like bodies and smooth, scaleless skin, often segmented like earthworms. Lacking limbs, they move by undulating their bodies, adeptly burrowing through soil and leaf litter. Their eyes are usually small and covered by skin or bone, rendering many practically blind; instead, they rely on a keen sense of smell and touch to navigate and hunt. They have a unique sensory tentacle between their eyes and nostrils to detect chemicals in their environment. Their skull is robust, aiding in burrowing, and they possess specialized teeth for grasping prey. Caecilians are generally silent creatures, not known for vocalizations.

Human Interaction
Human Interaction

Caecilians, often shrouded in mystery due to their elusive nature and subterranean lifestyles, have a relatively obscure relationship with humans. Largely unknown to the broader public and rarely featured in pop culture, these unique amphibians don't share the same level of interaction with humans as more familiar creatures.

Scientific interest has grown in understanding their ecological role, and conservation efforts are emerging to protect their habitats, often threatened by human activities like deforestation and pollution. Due to their hidden existence, caecilians act as indicators of environmental health, making their conservation important for ecosystem integrity. Despite their low profile, their wellbeing is intertwined with the health of our planet.

Common Questions
Common Questions
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.

Animals

* Under Development *

.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
GUIDE
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
GUIDE
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
GUIDE
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
GUIDE
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
GUIDE
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
GUIDE
3D
Thompson's Caecilian
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)

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads

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)

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads

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)

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads

Gaboon Caecilian (Geotrypetes seraphini)
Comparison illustration of the size of a Gaboon Caecilian to other caecilians

The Gaboon Caecilian (Geotrypetes seraphini) is endemic to the central parts of Africa and in countries south of the Sahara desert. In these places, you can find it in plantations, tropical moist lowland forests, and rural gardens. It is blind and limbless, as eyes are hidden under the skin. The body is purplish-gray or dark-gray with light-gray lines crossing from the lateral side of the body to the ventral side. It is viviparous and capable of giving birth to four babies. Like most caecilians, it spends most time underground and feeds on ground invertebrates.

The Gaboon Caecilian has an overall length between 13.8”-15.75” (35-40 cm) and body diameter of .39”-.59” (10-15 mm). The typical lifespan of the Gaboon Caecilian is between 11-20 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Gaboon Caecilian in various poses
The Gaboon Caecilian (Geotrypetes seraphini) is endemic to the central parts of Africa and in countries south of the Sahara desert. In these places, you can find it in plantations, tropical moist lowland forests, and rural gardens. It is blind and limbless, as eyes are hidden under the skin.

The Gaboon Caecilian has an overall length between 13.8”-15.75” (35-40 cm) and body diameter of .39”-.59” (10-15 mm). The typical lifespan of the Gaboon Caecilian is between 11-20 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Gaboon Caecilian in various poses
Gaboon Caecilian (Geotrypetes seraphini)
Height:
.39”-.59” | 10-15 mm (Diameter)
Width:
.39”-.59” | 10-15 mm (Diameter)
Length:
13.8”-15.75” | 35-40 cm
Depth:
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Geotrypetes seraphini
Lifespan
11-20 years

Drawings include:

Gaboon Caecilian top view (assorted)

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads

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)

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads