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Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Gymnophiona
Clade: Apoda
Family: Scolecomorphidae
Taylor, 1969


The Scolecomorphidae are the family of caecilians,[1] also known as tropical caecilians, buried-eyed caecilians,[1][2] or African caecilians.[3] They are found in Cameroon in West Africa, and Malawi and Tanzania in East Africa.[1] Caecilians are legless amphibians which superficially resemble worms or snakes.

Scolecomorphids have only vestigial eyes, which are attached to the base of a pair of tentacles underneath the snout. Unlike other caecilians, they have only primary annuli; these are grooves running incompletely around the body, giving the animal a segmented appearance. All other caecilians have a complex pattern of grooves, with secondary or tertiary annuli present. Also uniquely amongst tetrapods, the scolecomorphids lack a stapes bone in the middle ear.[4]

At least some species of scolecomorphids give birth to live young, retaining the eggs inside the females' bodies until they hatch into fully formed offspring, without the presence of a free-living larval stage.[4]


Just six species of scolecomorphids are known, grouped into two genera, as follows:[1][2]

Family Scolecomorphidae


  1. ^ a b c d Frost, Darrel R. (2019). "Scolecomorphidae Taylor, 1969". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Scolecomorphidae". AmphibiaWeb. University of California, Berkeley. 2019. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Scolecomorphidae Taylor, 1969". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  4. ^ a b Nussbaum, Ronald A. (1998). Cogger, H.G.; Zweifel, R.G. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-12-178560-4.