AmphibiaWeb - Chikilidae


(Translations may not be accurate.)


4 species in 1 genus

Commonly Called Northeast Indian Caecilians

This family was recently described in 2012 (Kamei et al) after extensive survey efforts in the Northeast India. A total of 1177 person hours were dedicated in the discovery of the caecilian Chikila fulleri, the first described species in the new family Chikilidae. From molecular phylogenetic analyses (both mitogenomic and nuclear DNA) and comparative cranial anatomy, they determined chikilids were more closely related to the African family Herpelidae than Indotyphlidae, diverging about 140 ± ca 20 Ma. Further, they propose this family represents an ancient radiation in wet tropical forests and thus evidence for the persistence of Cretaceous Period habitat in the northeastern India region.

Written by AmphibiaWeb

Notable Family Characteristics

  • Family named for Chikila, a northeastern (Meghalaya state) Indian tribal name for the included caecilians.
  • Oviparous
  • Direct development
  • Lacks prefrontals with two rows of teeth in the lower jaw
  • Stapes perforate, separate premaxillae and nasals
  • Lacks the multiple antotic foramina seen in Herpelids
  • Distribution known only to Northeastern India (Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura states); may possibly occur in Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh
Chikilidae Richness map

Cartography Credit: Zoe Yoo, UC Berkeley
Range maps sources: AmphibiaWeb, UC Berkeley, and IUCN RedList

Relevant Reference

Kamei, R. G., D. San Mauro, D. J. Gower, I. Van Bocxlaer, E. Sherratt, A. Thomas, S. Babu, F. Bossuyt, M. Wilkinson, and S. D. Biju. 2012. Discovery of a new family of amphibians from northeast India with ancient links to Africa. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 279: 2396–2401.

Genus Chikila (4 species)
Chikila alcocki no account no photos no sound/video
Chikila darlong no account no photos no sound/video
Chikila fulleri account no photos no sound/video
Chikila gaiduwani no account no photos no sound/video

Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available: (Accessed:

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