Species Description: Bhatta G, Dinesh KP, Prashanth P, Kulkarni NU 2007 A new species of the Indian caecilian genus Gegeneophis (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Caeciliidae) from the surroundings of Mahadayi Wildlife Sanctuary, Western Ghats. Current Science 93: 1442-1445.
© 2008 G.Bhatta (1 of 2)
This species is 180-202 mm in total length. The body is sub-cylindrical and slightly dorsoventrally compressed. It has 117-122 primary annuli and 29-31 secondary annuli, but lacks tertiary annuli. The annuli are marked by white grooves which are less conspicuous anteriorly. Eyes are visible in life even though they lie beneath bone, although in preserved specimens the eyes are not as visible. Nostrils are sub-circular and are surrounded by a whitish rim. The mouth is slightly subterminal, with the snout protruding about 1 mm beyond the mouth. The sensory tentacles are globular and are located closer to the upper lip than the top of the head, below both the nostrils and the eyes. The holotype has 21 premaxillary-maxillary, 20 vomeropalatine, 14 dentary and 4 splenial teeth. Dentary teeth are largest. Choanae are small and oval. The tongue is dark and spearhead-shaped. Narial plugs are raised, located anterolaterally and near the edge of the tongue, and have encircling grooves. The portion of the tongue behind the narial plugs has three longitudinal grooves. Another groove separates the tongue from the gingivae. The nuchal region is relatively higher than the part of the body immediately adjacent to it. The collars have three nuchal grooves; all except the third are complete. When annuli were examined for the presence of dermal scales, no scales were found at the 50th primary annulus, but at both the 75th and 90th, oval scales are found in a single row on the dorsal side; at the 110th primary annulus (secondary annular grooves are nearly complete here), oval scales are found in four rows both dorsally and ventrally. The vent is transverse and is surrounded by ten denticles (Bhatta et al. 2007).
In life, the body is dark brown except for the white annular grooves and scattered white glands. The head is pinkish-brown with a cream stripe extending from behind the eye to just anterior to the tentacle (Bhatta et al. 2007).
Distribution and Habitat
Found in India. The male holotype was collected from Chorla Village, Khanapur Taluk, Belgaum District, Karnataka. It was found under a pile of rotting grass in an open field, about 50 m away from the Haltar canal, a tributary of the River Mahadayi. Two paratypes, one also collected from Chorla Village and the other from Chavatyaar, were both found in the soil of small plantation fields of young bananas and jackfruits. It appears that G. mhadeiensis can tolerate disturbed habitats, but the extent of its distribution remains largely unknown.
Trends and Threats
The specific epithet mhadeiensis refers to the type locality on the bank of a tributary of the River Mhadei (an alternative spelling of Mahadayi) (Bhatta et al. 2007).
Bhatta, G., Dinesh, D. P., Prashanth, P., Kulkarni, N. U. (2007). ''A new species of the Indian caecilian genus Gegeneophis Peters (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Caeciliidae) from the surroundings of Mahadayi Wildlife Sanctuary, Western Ghats.'' Current Science, 93(10), 1442-1445.
Written by Christine Lu (karomi AT berkeley.edu), UC Berkeley
First submitted 2009-09-29
Edited by Kellie Whittaker (2010-04-10)
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