New Caecilian Species Discovered in India

A new species of our favorite worm-like amphibian, the caecilian, has been discovered in the Belgaum district in Southwestern India. Named Gegeneophis mhadeiensis, three specimens were collected and are described in the most recent issue of Current Science.

Scientists from the Zoological Survey of India along with independent researchers found the critters in the Mahadayi Wildlife Sanctuary. This place seems to churn out a few new species each week, but few are as cuddly as the caecilian.

“It is commonly known as a two-headed snake but a closer look brings out the ringed nature of the amphibian creature,” Gopalkrishna Bhatta, an independent researcher, told PTI from Shimoga in Karnataka. These Caecilian’s live in marshy, moist earth and feed on earthworms and decaying matter.

Gegeneophis mhadeiensis

More hot caecilian action below the fold

In a follow-up to a somewhat gruesome older post about caecilians feeding their own flesh to their offspring, here is a video actually showing it. Adorable!


  1. #1 leonardo alannis
    November 26, 2007

    hey, this is quite interesting…wasnt India the place where they also discovered that “lactating” caecilian?

  2. #2 Homie Bear
    November 26, 2007

    Wow, I have never heard of caecillians. I’ve heard of Sicillians, and after watching this video I would say the Sicillians don’t have anything on the caecillians.

  3. #3 Mrs Hilary Victoria Minor
    November 27, 2007

    Now this whips me up into as much naked excitement as the discovery in Europe of those 57 new species of non-threatening, completely unexciting, brownish-grey fish. “Long live biodiversity” is what I say! I suppose the fact that they feed themselves to their kids makes them a bit more interesting, but really, one can take parental responsibility a bit too far!

  4. #4 Drhoz!
    November 28, 2007

    wormlike amphibians up to a metre-and-a-half long, with adorable facial tentacles. They also enjoy penetrative sex, being the only amphibians duly equipped to do so. In at least one species, the babies flay their mother alive for food. Happily, the mother survives this, since she’s grown a specially thick fatty skin layer just for this purpose (see, cellulite DOES have a purpose!) In other species the babies gnaw at the inner lining of her oviducts for 12 months instead.

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