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 ?
Caecilian and anuran urogenital duct characters were utilized to assess character polarity, and when states for these taxa are known, they were coded as "state 0" indicating the hypothesized pleisiomorphic condition.
Biju, has named the new family Chikilidae, which means Caecilian in Garo, the local tribal language-consisting of tailless burrowing caecilians that evolved separately from other caecilian species more than 140 million years ago.
According to a report in National Geographic News, the creature, found in Guyana, is part of the wormlike group of amphibians known as caecilians.
Scientists have thus far identified nearly 5,000 species of frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians (legless largely subterranean creatures).
The Caecilians are the little known, snake-like third order of amphibians, and like other amphibians, are beginning to go extinct worldwide.
A female in a species of legless amphibians called caecilians nourishes her youngsters by letting them eat the skin off her back, says an international research team.
American's largest salamander), the extremely endangered emperor newts, burrowing caecilians, dart-poison frogs and more.
Plagiosaurs were a group of flat-headed, armored amphibians unrelated to living amphibians such as frogs, salamanders and caecilians.
of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) have written the first field guide and reference book on the amphibians of East Africa (Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda), covering 194 frogs and toads and 9 caecilians.
Reptiles and Amphibians examines the diversity of these two groups and specifically details how metamorphosis occurs in frogs, salamanders, and caecilians and how venom, especially in snakes, has evolved into such an effective tool.
Scientists previously viewed this practice, called dermatophagy, as a freak occurrence, but a new survey of more than 100 zoos and aquariums worldwide has documented it in 285 species of frogs, salamanders, lizards, snakes, turtles, tuatara, and caecilians, says coauthor Paul J.