The Ringed Caelilian, Siphonops annulatus
The Ringed caecilian (Siphonops annulatus) is an amphibian species and a member of the Caeciliidae family. The species is native to South America, ranging Argentina, Volivia, Columbia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.
The Ringed caelilian inhabits tropical or subtropical areas. Lowland forests, savannah, shrubland, grassland, pastureland, plantations and rural gardens are all habitats the species may occupy.
The Ringed caecilian is known to resemble earthworms, however it’s a very different species. Reaching lengths that measure up to 17.75 inches, the amphibian has grooves that encircle its entire body. A bluish-black coloration may have groves edged in white or cream giving a ringed appearance.
The Ringed caecilian is oviparous, meaning egg-laying. Litters of eggs can contain anywhere from 5 to 16 offspring. An uncommon practice known as maternal dermatophagy allows the offspring to nourish itself by consuming the mother’s outer layer of skin. After 3 days the mother caecilian will regenerate a new layer of skin and the young will feed again.
The Ringed caecilian is an underground dweller; it burrows through the ground and soil to find its prey. Typical diets consist of earthworms, termites, crickets, slugs and snails. The Ringed caecilian is said to have a skin secretion used to paralyze or kill its prey or any threats presented.
Image Caption: The Ringed Caelilian, (Siphonops annulatus). Credit: Andreas Schlüter/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5)