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Aquatic caecilian

Typhlonectes natans

Description: Typhlonectes natans are limbless creatures with small eyes and ring-shaped segmented folds all along their bodies. They have smooth skin, that is dark gray-black in color and are fully aquatic. They have a unique chemosensory organ located on the head called the tentacle. The tentacle exits the skull through the tentacular foramen or groove located between the nares and orbit.

Size: This species grows to an average length of 18 – 22 inches (46-56 cm).

Behavior: Aquatic caecilians spend a lot of time coiled up in a tangle of plants and they also like to burrow into fine sandy soil. They breathe air, so they must return to the surface regularly to breathe.

Diet: They feed on invertebrates such as insects, spiders and worms.

Senses: They have bad eyesight and find their food by taste and smell.

Communication: It is believed that chemical and tactile cues are used by this species for communication.

Reproduction: This is a viviparous species, the embryos are nourished by secretions from oviduct walls of the female. Specialized fetal teeth in the young are used to stimulate cells in the oviduct walls to produce secretions. Females have a gestation period between six and seven months
and a litter averaging between two and eleven young.

Habitat/range: This species is native to Colombia and northern Venezuela. It lives in tropical areas in quiet waters with rocky bottoms.

Status: IUCN Red List – Least Concern