Close-up of a blue caecilian


Caecilians look like worms but are actually amphibians that inhabit the wet tropical regions of south America, Africa and south east Asia. They make up one of the three orders of amphibians, alongside frogs and salamanders. Lacking any limbs but possessing a retractable sensory tentacle, caecilians - with the exception of a few aquatic species - have a burrowing lifestyle. The skin of one African species is fat and nutrient-rich, so the larvae peel this skin off the parent and eat it.

Did you know?
In one caecilian species a mother grows a new skin every three days as it is eaten by her larvae.

Scientific name: Gymnophiona

Rank: Order

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Map showing the distribution of the Caecilians taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Caecilians can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Amazon Rainforest, Asia, China, Indian subcontinent, South America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.

BBC News about Caecilians