caecilian

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Related to Caecilians: Amphibians

caecilian

(sēsĭl`ēən), any of the legless, tailless tropical amphibiansamphibian,
in zoology, cold-blooded vertebrate animal of the class Amphibia. There are three living orders of amphibians: the frogs and toads (order Anura, or Salientia), the salamanders and newts (order Urodela, or Caudata), and the caecilians, or limbless amphibians (order
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 belonging to the order Gymnophiona (or Apoda). Most adult caecilians resemble earthworms superficially but have vertebrate characteristics such as jaws and teeth.

Caecilians range in size from 7 in. to 4.5 ft (18 cm–140 cm); most are about 1 ft (30 cm) long. Their bodies are ringed with grooves, which in some species contain small scales imbedded in the skin; possession of scales is a primitive amphibian trait. There is a groove on either side of the head, each containing a retractable sensory tentacle. The eyes of caecilians are nearly functionless, and some species are eyeless.

Caecilians are found in swampy places in most tropical parts of the world, but are seldom seen because of their burrowing behavior. They eat small invertebrates such as termites and earthworms. A few species remain aquatic as adults and resemble eels.

There are more than 180 species of caecilians, divided into 10 families. They are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Amphibia, order Gymnophiona (or Apoda).

caecilian

[sē′sil·yən]
(vertebrate zoology)
The common name for members of the amphibian order Apoda.
References in periodicals archive ?
Verdade VK, Schiesari LC, Bertoluci JA (2000) Diet of juvenile aquatic caecilians, Typhlonectes compressicauda.
This condition is also observed in caecilians (Wake, 1970) and some anurans that have not completely lost a pelvic portion of the kidney (Bhaduri and Basu, 1957).
Non-traditional characters in the assessment of caecilians Phylogenetic relationships.
Immunological insights into the evolutionary history of Caecilians (Amphibia: Gymnophiona): relationships of the Seychellean caecilians and a preliminary report on family-level relationships.
So are toads, salamanders, newts and the intriguingly unusual caecilians.
These primitive, worm-like caecilians make surprisingly devoted parents.
TV firsts in the series include tiny scarlet frogs sumo wrestling, baby worm-like caecilians feasting on their mother's skin, mother salamanders viciously defending their broods and spectacled caiman taking care of creches of up to 100 young.
Generally they are grouped as Anura, those without tails (frogs and toads), caudata, those with tails (salamanders, newts, and sirens), and gymnophiona, the caecilians, or the limbless amphibians.
In contrast, most other elongated vertebrates whose burrowing mechanics have been studied, Uropeltids, Amphisbeanians, and Caecilians, all share the characteristics of a compact skull and specialized skull shapes for penetrating and pushing aside substrate.
There are approximately 6040 known amphibian species in the world, divided into three main general groups: frogs (5314 species), salamanders (555) and caecilians (171).
Frogs are one type of amphibian, a group of animals that also includes toads, salamanders, and wormlike caecilians (si-SIL-yuns).