Caecilians | Apoda
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.
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.
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.
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.