caecilian


caecilian
/see sil"ee euhn/, n.
1. Also called blindworm. a legless, wormlike tropical amphibian of the order Gymnophiona (formerly Apoda), spending most of its life underground and usually almost blind.
adj.
2. pertaining to or characteristic of a caecilian.
[1875-80; < L caecili(a) blindworm + -AN]

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Any of 155 species of wormlike amphibians found in humid regions from Mexico to northern Argentina and in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Seychelles.

The elongate, ringed, limbless body is 4–60 in. (10–150 cm) long. Colour ranges from blackish to pinkish tan. The tiny eyes are covered by skin and often by bone. A chemosensory projection lies between the eye and nostril. Some species lay eggs, which are guarded by the female and hatch into free-living larvae; other species bear live young. Caecilians spend their lives underground and eat worms and insects.

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 any of the 155 species of the amphibian order Gymnophiona (Apoda).

      A brief treatment of caecilians follows. For full treatment, see Gymnophiona (caecilians).

      Caecilians are burrowing or swimming, secretive animals that occur in the Western Hemisphere from Mexico to northern Argentina and in Africa, southeastern Asia, and the Seychelles. Their bodies are elongate, without limbs or girdles, and are characterized by numerous annuli (rings) repeated along the length of the body. Their length varies from about 10 to 150 cm (about 4 to 60 inches). Their colour ranges from blackish to pinkish tan. The eyes are tiny and covered by skin and often by bone. A chemosensory tentacle lies between the eye and nostril on each side of the head.

      The male possesses a copulatory organ for internal fertilization of the female. Species of some families lay eggs that are guarded by the female; the eggs hatch into free-living larvae. Many other species are viviparous, giving birth to miniature adults following nutrition in the oviduct by materials and cells from the oviduct wall. Caecilians eat worms and other soft-bodied prey.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Caecilian — C[ae]*cil i*an (?; 106), n. [L. caecus blind. So named from the supposed blindness of the species, the eyes being very minute.] (Zo[ o]l.) A limbless amphibian belonging to the order {C[ae]cili[ae]} or {Ophimorpha}. See {Ophiomorpha}. [Written… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • caecilian — [sē sil′ē ən, sēsil′yən] n. [< ModL < L caecilia, kind of lizard < caecus: see CECUM] any of an order (Gymnophiona) of legless tropical amphibians resembling worms …   English World dictionary

  • Caecilian — This article is about an order of amphibians. For the bishop of Carthage, see Caecilianus. Caecilians Temporal range: 170–0 Ma …   Wikipedia

  • caecilian — noun Etymology: ultimately from Latin caecilia slowworm, from caecus blind Date: circa 1879 any of an order (Gymnophiona) of chiefly tropical burrowing limbless amphibians resembling worms • caecilian adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • caecilian — noun A group of burrowing amphibians (order Gymnophiona or Apoda) that resemble earthworms or snakes …   Wiktionary

  • caecilian — [sɪ sɪlɪən] (also coecilian) noun Zoology a burrowing worm like amphibian of a tropical order distinguished by poorly developed eyes and the lack of limbs. [Order Gymnophiona: many species.] Origin from mod. L. Caecilia (genus name), from L.… …   English new terms dictionary

  • caecilian — cae·cil·i·an …   English syllables

  • caecilian — cae•cil•i•an [[t]siˈsɪl i ən[/t]] n. ram a wormlike, burrowing tropical amphibian of the order Gymnophiona • Etymology: 1875–80; < L caecili(a) blindworm …   From formal English to slang

  • caecilian — /səˈsɪljən/ (say suh silyuhn) noun any of the limbless and elongate burrowing amphibians of the order Apoda. {Latin caecilia lizard + an} …   Australian English dictionary

  • caecilian — n. (also coecilian) any burrowing wormlike amphibian of the order Gymnophiona, having poorly developed eyes and no limbs. Etymology: L caecilia kind of lizard …   Useful english dictionary


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