Author: Jan Scholten
English: Caecilians and relatives.
Genera: 214 species; 10 families.
Region: tropics of South and Central America, Africa, southern Asia.
Name: Caecilians in New Latin means "blind ones".
Caecilians are limbless, vermiform, wormlike or serpentine amphibians. small Caecilians resemble worms, larger species, with lengths up to 1.5 m resemble snakes. Their tails are short or absent, and their cloacae are near the ends of their bodies.
They mostly live hidden in the ground and in stream substrates. Their diet consists of small subterranean creatures such as earthworms.
Their skin is smooth and usually dark, but some species have colourful skins. Inside the skin are calcite scales. The skin has numerous ring-shaped folds, or annuli, that partially encircle the body, giving them a segmented appearance. The skin contains glands that secrete a haemolytic toxin to deter predators.