caecilian


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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 ?
Greeney HF, Gelis RA, Funk WC (2008) Predation on Caecilians (Caecilia orientalis) by Barred Hawks (Leucopternis princeps) depends on rainfall.
To our knowledge, there is still no report of cloning of aquaporins in urodeles or caecilians.
New Delhi, Feb 23 ( ANI ): Indian scientists have uncovered a completely new family of limbless amphibians, commonly known as caecilians, in the forests in northeastern part of the country.
Oxygen uptake and blood respiratory properties of the caecilian Boulenegerula taitanus.
But, in 1995, researchers found the first known lungless caecilian, and in 2008 another team reported a tiny, land-dwelling, lungless frog.
This aquatic caecilian is expected to occur in all the rivers flowing northeast and southeast from the Andes although there are only five records available (Lynch, 2000, and recent collections from Leticia).
Elsewhere in Kenya, these kind of microhabitats also harbor other subterranean herpetofauna such as caecilian amphibians (see Malonza and Measey 2005, Malonza 2008) and reptiles such as blind snakes, worm snakes, burrowing skinks and worm lizards (Spawls et al.
No longer need the reader of Augustine fail to identify the appropriate Boniface, Caecilian, or Caelestius.
Don't despair if the word caecilian fails to come to mind.
Newts and earthworm-like creatures called caecilians also belong to this class of animals.