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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Species Fact Profile: Aquatic Caecilian (Typhlonectes natans)

Aquatic Caecilian
Typhlonectes natans (Fischer, 1880)

Range: Northern South America (Colombia, Northern Venezuela)
Habitat: Flooded Grasslands, Wetlands, Rivers
Diet: Insects, Spiders, Earthworms
Social Grouping: Semi-Social
Reproduction: Viviparous.  Fetal offspring are nurtured on secretions from the walls of their mother's oviducts.  Gestation period is 6-7 months.  2-11 young are born per litter.
Lifespan: 5 Years
Conservation Status: IUCN Least Concern

  • Limbless body is 45-55 centimeters long when fully grown.  Smooth skin is dark-gray to black in color. Laterally flattened body ends in a small tail fin
  • The eyes are tiny and vision is believed to be poor (the name "caecilian" is derived from the Latin for "blind").  Sense their environment using a small chemosensory organ on the back of the head
  • Sold in pet stores under the trade name of "rubber eel", often presented as a fish
  • The species is relatively common.  It faces some collection pressure for the pet trade, but still has abundant habitat remaining and is tolerant of habitat disturbance and pollution

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