Boulengerula taitana

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Boulengerula taitana
Boulengerula taitanus 1.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Gymnophiona
Family: Caeciliidae
Genus: Boulengerula
Species: B. taitana
Binomial name
Boulengerula taitana
Loveridge, 1935
Boulengerula taitana range 2.png
Range highlighted in blue.
  • Boulengerula taitanus Loveridge, 1935
  • Afrocaecilia taitana (Taylor, 1968)

Boulengerula taitana (commons names: Taita African caecilian, Taita Hills caecilian, Taita Mountains caecilian) is a species of caecilian from Africa.[2]


Boulengerula taitana is endemic to the Taita Hills region of southeast Kenya.[2] Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, plantations, rural gardens, and heavily degraded former forest. It is quite common throughout its range and able to live in modified habitats, but is potentially threatened by habitat loss.[1]


Generally, Boulengerula are believed to be predators of soil macrofauna. The large proportion of decaying plant material and unidentifiable organic matter in guts of Boulengerula taitana has led to a suggestion that it is an omnivore or detritivore. However, the organic matter and soil in their diet seems to originate from prey items such as earthworms. Other important dietary items are termites, dipteran larvae and other soil macrofauna.[3]


Boulengerula taitana is an egg-laying burrowing caecilian. Because young specimens do not have the same tooth structure as adults, Boulengerula taitana has developed a strange habit. Once the young have hatched, the mother develops a thick, nutritious skin which the young eat. This does not appear to harm the adult. This behaviour is also found in its South American relative Siphonops annulatus.

Recently a film crew from BBC captured this event on film.


  1. ^ a b Loader, S. & Measey, J. (2004). "Boulengerula taitana". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 6 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Frost, Darrel R. (2013). "Boulengerula taitana Loveridge, 1935". Amphibian Species of the World 5.6, an Online Reference. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 6 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Gaborieau, O.; Measey, G.J. (2004). "Termitivore or detritivore? A quantitative investigation into the diet of the East African caecilian Boulengerula taitanus (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Caeciliidae)" (PDF). Animal Biology. 54: 45–56. doi:10.1163/157075604323010042. 

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