AmphibiaWeb - Ichthyophis asplenius
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Ichthyophis asplenius Taylor, 1965
Broad-striped caecilian, Boven Mahakkam Caecilian
family: Ichthyophiidae
genus: Ichthyophis
Species Description: Taylor, E. H. 1965. New Asiatic and African caecilians with redescriptions of certain other species. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 46: 253–302.
Ichthyophis asplenius
© 2007 Alexander Haas (1 of 1)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Data Deficient (DD)
CITES No CITES Listing
National Status Unknown
Regional Status Unknown

   

 
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Description
Ichthyophis asplenius is a Southeast Asian caecilian first described by Edward Taylor in 1965 from three specimens from Borneo. The three specimens range from 191 - 207 mm in total length. It has a moderately sized head that narrower than the body. The snout projects slightly away from the mouth. The nostrils are nearly terminal, and visible from directly above its head. A tentacle, near the lip, can be found closer to the eye than nostril. Its dim, elevated eyes are visible. The distance between the eyes is greater than the distance from the snout tip to eye. Its teeth are small, with the dentary teeth being the largest and the vomeropalatine teeth being minute. Its first and second collars are fused ventrally but separated dorsally. Ichthyophis asplenius has a nuchal groove that is unbroken laterally around the body and a second groove behind a fold. There were roughly 264 - 270 primary and secondary annuli after their collars and 247 - 270 body folds. In the holotype specimen, scales were present in the 30th body fold, in the middle of its length toward the mid-ventral line, and posteriorly four rows. Some I. asplenius had a fifth row of posterior scales. The tail is 3.0 - 3.3. mm long (Taylor 1965, 1968).

Ichthyophis asplenius has a yellow lateral stripe, while I. youngorum and I. acuminatus do not. The caecilian featured in this account has a range of 247 - 270 body folds while other species have larger numbers of body folds: I. supachaii has 300 - 325, I. kohtaoensis has 355 - 375, and I. youngorum has 310 - 325 (Taylor 1968).

Ichthyophis asplenius is a dark brownish lilac with a consistent coloring above and below. They also have a distinguishing yellowish lateral stripe that began on the head at the tentacle and ended at the vent; it had uneven edges that are about 1.5 mm wide. The head is olive brown, and there is a faint ring around its eye. The tip of its snout is light. The vent also has a light spot (Taylor 1965). It is unclear if this is the coloration in life or preservative.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Malaysia, Thailand

Malaysian region distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Sarawak

 
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Ichthyophis asplenius’ holotype was found in Boven Mahakkam, Borneo, and another individual found in Sarawak, Borneo (Taylor 1968). It is also extant in Kalimantan, Indonesia, and it is potentially present in Thailand and peninsular Malaysia (IUCN 2022). Like other caecilians, I. asplenius are found in moist areas with wet soil, such as banks and edges of streams or rivulets, permanent ponds, springs, swamps, under rocks or logs, or in the mossy regions of wet forests (Taylor 1968).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Like other caecilians, I. asplenius are found in moist areas with wet soil, such as banks and edges of streams or rivulets, permanent ponds, springs, swamps, under rocks or logs, or in the mossy regions of wet forests (Taylor 1968).

This species is presumably oviparous. Its eggs are laid terrestrially, consistent with other species in its genus (IUCN 2020).

Larva

This species is presumably oviparous. Its eggs are laid terrestrially and its larvae are aquatic, consistent with other species in its genus (IUCN 2020). Larvae often settle in the shallow water of rivulets and under rocks submerged in water (Taylor 1968).

Comments

Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference on whole or nearly whole mitochondrial genome data, indicate that I. asplenius is most closely related to I. bannanicus. The next most closely related species is I. glutinosus followed by the clade composed of I. bombayensis, Uraeotyphlus gansi, and a specimen assumed to be Uraeotyphlus oxyurus. However, these were the only species from the Ichthyophiidae family that were sampled as this study was focused on relationships for the whole order (San Mauro et al. 2014). Further investigation is need at the family or genus level for more fine-scale relationships.

The species epithet, "asplenius", is presumably is a reference to the fact that the species lacks splenial teeth (Taylor 1965).

References

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2022. Ichthyophis asplenius. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2022: e.T59602A114040690. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2022-2.RLTS.T59602A114040690.en. Accessed in April 2024

San Mauro, D., Gower, D. J., Müller, H., Loader, S. P., Zardoya, R., Nussbaum, R. A., and Wilkinson, M. (2014). Life-history evolution and mitogenomic phylogeny of caecilian amphibians. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 73, 177–189. [link]

Taylor, E.H. 1965. New Asiatic and African caecilians with redescriptions of related species. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 46, 253-302. [link]

Taylor, E.H. 1968. The Caecilians of the World. A Taxonomic Review. University of Kansas Press, Lawrence, Kansas



Originally submitted by: Sophie dela Cruz (2024-05-09)
Description by: Sophie dela Cruz (updated 2024-05-09)
Distribution by: Sophie dela Cruz (updated 2024-05-09)
Life history by: Sophie dela Cruz (updated 2024-05-09)
Larva by: Sophie dela Cruz (updated 2024-05-09)
Comments by: Sophie dela Cruz (updated 2024-05-09)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2024-05-09)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2024 Ichthyophis asplenius: Broad-striped caecilian <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/1967> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 13, 2024.



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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 13 Jul 2024.

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