Other Amphibian of the Week

Ringed Caecilian (Siphonops annulatus)

photo by Andreas Schlüter

Common Name: Ringed Caecilian
Scientific Name: Siphonops annulatus
Family: Siphonopidae
Location: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela
Size: 17.7 inches (450 mm)

The Ringed Caecilian has the largest distribution of any terrestrial caecilian, covering most of South America. It has been suggested that it might be many different species but more research is needed on that. New research has suggested that Ringed Caecilian is venomous. Specialized glands have been identified above their teeth that appear similar to venom glands in snakes.

The Ring Caecilian is oviparous and lays large, white eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the youngsters feed off the mother’s skin. The mother creates skin that is rich in lipids for the young babies to eat.  This behavior is called maternal dermatophagy. The skin is poisonous to other animals such as rats and frogs.

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