AmphibiaWeb - Uraeotyphlus gansi


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Uraeotyphlus gansi Gower, Rajendran, Nussbaum & Wilkinson, 2008
Gans' Uraeotyphlus
family: Ichthyophiidae
genus: Uraeotyphlus
Species Description: Gower DJ, Rajendran A, Nussbaum RA, Wilkinson M 2008 A new species of Uraeotyphlus (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Uraeotyphlidae) of the malabaricus group. Herpetologica 64:235-245
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Data Deficient (DD)
National Status None
Regional Status None
conservation needs Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .


Berkeley mapper logo

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.


Diagnosis: The genus Uraeotyphlus is endemic to the Western Ghats and is divided into two species groups, with species in the malabaricus group characterized by having annuli that are not congruent with trunk myomeres, and no clear distinction between primary annuli and other annuli (Gower and Wilkinson 2007). Uraeotyphlus gansi can be distinguished from other caecilian species within the malabaricus group by the combination of total number of annuli, length of the tail (in terms of number of post-anal annuli), and numbers of teeth. Uraeotyphlus gansi is distinguishable from Uraeotyphlus malabaricus in having fewer annuli (1-3) posterior to the vent (vs. 5 for U. malabaricus), fewer dentary teeth (23-31, vs. 35 for U. malabaricus), and fewer splenial teeth (4-10, vs. 14 for U. malabaricus). Uraeotyphlus gansi can be distinguished from Uraeotyphlus oommeni by having more annuli (238-275, vs. an average of 210 annuli for U. malabaricus) (Gower et al. 2008).

Description: The total length for Uraeotyphlus gansi averages 206.1 mm for males and 196.1 mm for females. Primary and secondary annuli are present. There are 248 annuli if counted laterally, 253 annuli if counted dorsally, and 244 annuli if counted ventrally. Eyes are clearly visible beneath the skin. Tentacular apertures are located halfway between the tip of the snout and level of the anterior margin of the mouth (Gower et al. 2008). Nares are small and subcircular, located just anterior to the mouth. The mouth is subterminal. The teeth are strongly recurved, with those examined being bicuspid. A true tail is present with a blunt tip. The vent is longitudinal, with six denticulations on each side and a minor midline denticulation at the posterior of the vent. Disc is subcircular, not raised, and lacks papillae. In checking for the presence of scales at five points along the body, scales were not found at the second collar or at the 40th annulus behind the collars, but were found at mid-body, the 84th annulus, and the 20th annulus anterior to the body terminus (Gower et al. 2008).

Coloration is a dark slate gray with lilac undertones dorsally, fading to a paler and more lilac color ventrally. The chin, throat, and parts of the snout are paler gray while annular grooves are a paler lilac. The disc surrounding the vent is a pale lilac gray. In preservation, coloration is similar with the addition of paler rings around the eyes and nares, paler lips, paler tip and underside of snout, a pale, broad irregular stripe extending along the snout including the tentacular bulge, a pale midventral line on the chin and first collar, and a cream-colored disc. Whitish dots (glands) are also present all over preserved specimens, more abundantly on the anterior ventral side except along the darker midline stripe (Gower et al. 2008).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: India

Berkeley mapper logo

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Uraeotyphlus gansi is known from the Western Ghats region of southernmost Tamil Nadu in peninsular India. Natural habitat includes deciduous and rain forest regions, but many specimens have been found in recovering forest regions. This species is fossorial, and most specimens have been found within the top 20 cm of soil, either in moist, loose, dark soil or occasionally beneath rotting wood (Gower et al. 2008).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Very little is known about Uraeotyphlus gansi’s life history. It is a fossorial species. This species may be oviparous with free-living larvae (Gower et al. 2008).

Trends and Threats
This species is fossorial and is thus rarely encountered (3-4x over the past 20 years); population trends are unknown. It is found in an area that was converted from primary forest to a tea plantation in 1929. Some subsequent planting of cardamom has been done, but much of this has been returned to forest. Nonetheless, agricultural activities are reported to have intensified within this area. Aquatic pollution from agricultural runoff could be a threat if this species does have aquatic larval development (IUCN 2011).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

Local pesticides, fertilizers, and pollutants


Gower, D. J., Rajendran, A., Nussbaum, R. A., and Wilkinson, M. (2008). ''A new species of Uraeotyphlus (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Uraeotyphlidae) of the malabaricus group.'' Herpetologica, 64(2), 235-245.

Gower, D. J., and Wilkinson, M. (2007). ''Species groups in the Indian caecilian genus Uraeotyphlus Peters (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Uraeotyphlidae), with the description of a new species.'' Herpetologica, 63, 401-410.

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2011. Uraeotyphlus gansi. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. Downloaded on 27 December 2011.

Originally submitted by: Jacklyn Powers (first posted 2010-07-01)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2011-12-27)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2011 Uraeotyphlus gansi: Gans' Uraeotyphlus <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 17, 2024.

Feedback or comments about this page.


Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 17 Jul 2024.

AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.