Common name: Argentine caecilian

Scientific name: Chthonerpeton indistinctum

 

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata  

Order: Amphibian

Class: Gymnophiona

Family: Caecilidae

Genus: Chthonerpeton

Species: C. Indistinctum

The Argentine caecilian is an amphibian but looks like a large worm because it has no legs and no arms and has shiny skin, ringed with skin folds.  This Argentine caecilian is black or brown to pink, grows up to be from 24-43.5 cm.,  and lives in loose soil or ground litter.  It's thick pointy skull helps this amphibian dig in soft dirt.  Because the Argentine caecilian spends most of it's time underground, there is really no need for them to see or hear which is why they have tiny eyes and no ear openings.

 

An Argentine caecilian's mouth has dozens of needle-point sharp teeth, used to grab worms, termites, beetle pupae, molluscs, small snakes, frogs, lizards, and other caecilians.  They swallow their food whole.  Argentine caecilians rely on their tentacles, which are between the nosrils and eyes, to locate their prey.  They are meat eaters, and twist their bodies rapidly when subduing prey that they have grasped in their mouth.

 

 Their average lifespan is up to 13 years.  The major habitat is tropical forests.  The Argentine caecilian produces 2 to 25 live young.

 

The Agrentine caecilian is found in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.  This animal is rare so there is not a lot of information about the Argentine Caecilian.  There are around 124 species of caecilians identified so far and almost no one knows they are there.  That's probably why almost nothing is known about the Argentine caecilian and it's lifestyle.

 

The information, though little, on the Argentine caecilian is very interesting. What stood out the most about this animal was that it is the only amphibian to have tentacles.  I have learned that there are different type of species, like this one, waiting to be discovered or to be learned  more about.

 

Author: Erica M.

Published: 2/10

 

Sources:

http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-caecilian.html

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