Ichthyophis khumhzi
Khumhzi striped Ichthyophis
family: Ichthyophiidae
Species Description: Kamei RG, Wilkinson M, Gower DJ, Biju SD 2009 Three new species of striped Ichthyophis (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Ichthyophiidae) from the northeast Indian states of Manipur and Nagaland. Zootaxa 2267:26-42.

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Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None



Diagnosis: Ichthyophis khumhzi can be distinguished by the following combination of characters: having narrow, irregular lateral yellow stripes running from close to the corner of the mouth to the level of the vent but not contacting the disc, and barely to not visible on ventral side of collars; narrowness of stripe indicated by midbody width/stripe width at midbody ratio > 6; adult total length greater than 400 mm, body length/width ratio between 24 and 26; >300 annular grooves, which are darker in color than the adjacent skin; V-shaped, short head, with head V-shaped, short, with total length/head length ratio >25; tentacular apertures located more than twice as far from nares than from eyes; first collar noticeably shorter than second collar; scales found as far anterior as the collars, and four or five rows posteriorly on dorsum; similar numbers of splenial and dentary teeth (Kamei et al. 2009).

Description: Adult males measure 422-500 mm in total length. Short V-shaped head. Head, trunk and nuchal region are dorsoventrally compressed. Annular grooves number 341-362 when counted dorsally. Girth reaches a maximum near the midbody, then decreases gradually until tapering more abruptly over the last 50 mm of length. Total length/midbody width = 26. The collar region is more massive than the head and body, and is demarcated by constrictions. The second collar is more than 1.5x as long as the first collar. Eyes are equidistant from lip to the top of the head, with each eye surrounded by a narrow whitish ring. Tentacular apertures are closer to the eyes than the nares, being slightly more than 2x as far from the nares as from the eyes, and are fairly close to the lips. Nares are equidistant between the top and bottom of the snout in profile, and slightly anterior to the level of the anteriormost margin of the mouth; in dorsal view, the the nares are close to touching the sides of the head. In ventral view, the lower jaw is set in from the upper, more so anteriorly than at the level of the tentacular apertures. Girth is maximum near the midbody, decreasing gradually until the posteriormost 50 mm and then tapering more abruptly. On the holotype, small scales are found in a single row within a shallow pocket of the first annular groove; posterior to that, on the dorsum and venter, there are deep pockets which contain four or five rows of large scales. Annular grooves are narrowly incomplete midventrally on the anteriormost two-thirds of the body, with six annular grooves interrupted in the region of the disc, and two more incomplete both dorsally and ventrally on the tail. The disc does not have papillae. Denticulations around the vent are poorly defined. The tail is not upturned towards the tip. Teeth are slender and strongly recurved, with 50-56 premaxillary and maxillary teeth, 47-58 vomeropalatine teeth, 42-49 dentary teeth, and 40-46 splenial teeth. The number of splenial teeth is roughly the same as the number of dentary teeth. Very narrow choanae, separated by a distance about 5-8x the greatest choanal width. Posterior of the tongue is strongly plicate in the holotype, but not in the paratypes (Kamei et al. 2009).

Coloration in life: dark brown grayish dorsum with a reddish gray venter, and narrow irregular dull-yellow lateral stripes (Kamei et al. 2009).

Similar species: I. khumhzi can be distinguished from other known south Asian striped Ichthyophis (I. beddomei, I. garoensis, I. glutinosus, I. kodaguensis, I. pseudangularis, I. tricolor), with the exception of I. longicephalus, by having tentacular apertures >2x as far from the nares as the eyes (in the other species listed above, tentacular apertures are less than 2x as far from the nares as the eyes). I. khumhzi can be distinguished from I. longicephalus by having a short, V-shaped head, with a total length/head length ratio >25 (vs. a longer head, not V-shaped, with a total length/head length ratio less than 18 for I. longicephalus), having more scale rows (vs. fewer scale rows for I. longicephalus), equal collar size (vs. subequal in I. longicephalus), and a stripe that does not extend onto the tail (vs. stripe extending onto the tail for I. longicephalus) (Kamei et al. 2009). I. khumhzi can be distinguished from all southeast Asian striped Ichthyophis species (I. attricolaris, I. biangularis, I. bannanicus, I. bernisi, I. elongatus, I. humphreyi, I. hypocyaneus, I. kohtaoensis, I. paucisulcus, I. supachaii) in having approximately equal numbers of splenial and dentary teeth (vs. considerably fewer splenial teeth than dentary teeth in the other species) (Kamei et al. 2009).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: India

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Endemic to India. The type locality is Khumhzi village, Tamenglong district, Manipur, India, at 320 m asl. This species has been found in marshy lands near agricultural fields and the River Agoh/Elen, about a kilometer away from a national highway. It has also been found in secondary forest on the edge of a banana plantation (Kamei et al. 2009).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
No females have been found yet, and reproduction has not been described for this species (Kamei et al. 2009).

Trends and Threats
The population status and range size are not known. The holotype and paratypes were collected at two different localities about 15 km apart on the same day in July 2007. The population status is not known. This species can tolerate some habitat disturbance. However, the region is undergoing increased deforestation and habitat degradation (Kamei et al. 2009).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing

It is named after Khumhzi village, where the holotype was found (Kamei et al. 2009).


Kamei, R.G., Wilkinson, M., Gower, D.J. and Biju, S.D. (2009). ''Three new species of striped Ichthyophis (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Ichthyophiidae) from the northeast Indian states of Manipur and Nagaland.'' Zootaxa, 2267, 26-42.

Written by Stephanie Ung and Kellie Whittaker (stephanieung AT, UC Berkeley
First submitted 2009-11-12
Edited by Kellie Whittaker (2012-01-11)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2012 Ichthyophis khumhzi: Khumhzi striped Ichthyophis <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Mar 25, 2017.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2017. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 25 Mar 2017.

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