Monday, January 20, 2014
Creature Feature #94: Caecilian
These bizarre amphibians are well adapted for a subterrestrial existence. They entirely lack limbs and their eyes are small and covered with skin, protecting them from dirt. Almost blind, vision is limited to light/dark perception. The head is sturdy with a pointed snout designed to push its way through soil. The body is very muscular: he can anchor his hind quarters in place, force his head forward, and pull the rest of his body up in waves. This fellow is one of the Ichthyophiidae Family and is one of the more primitive caecilians.
The breeding habits of caecilian are rather strange and variable. Many species (75%) are vivaparous (give birth to live young); others, like the Ichthyophiidae, lay eggs and then guard them until they hatch. Some begin life as semi-aquatic larvae, others metamorph in the egg. One species develops an extra layer of highly nutritious skin, which the larvae peel off with their teeth.