10 species in 2 genera
Commonly Called African Caecilians
Photo by John Measey
(Click for family gallery)
These slender African caecilians (35 cm or less) are poorly known; much of their natural history is surmised from what is known of Boulengerula taitana. Boulengerula taitana exhibits both egg guarding in an underground nest as well as parental care afterward when the female grows a lipid-rich skin, which is eaten by the young. This species has been found in mountainous as well as agricultural areas of East Africa.The two genera are disjunctly distributed in Africa, with Herpele from West Africa and Boulengerula in East Africa.Written by AmphibiaWeb
Notable Family Characteristics
- Egg guarding in an underground nest by the female (known in Boulengerula taitana)
- Female feeds young with a lipid-rich skin secretions (known in Boulengerula taitana)
- Distinguishable by the following combination of characters: 1) perforate stapes, 2) multiple, small antotic foramina, 3) no separate septomaxillae or separate prefrontals. Eyes concealed under bone
- Distribution in Africa; Herpele known only from West Africa and Boulengerula in East Africa
Cartography Credit: Zoe Yoo, UC Berkeley
Range maps sources: AmphibiaWeb, UC Berkeley, and IUCN RedList
Wilkinson, M., San Mauro, D., Sherratt, E., and Gower, D. J. 2011. A nine-family classification of caecilians (Amphibia: Gymnophiona). Zootaxa 2874: 41-64.
Pough, F. H., R. M. Andrews, M. L. Crump, A. H. Savitzky, K. D. Wells, and M. C. Brandley. 2015. Herpetology. Fourth Edition. Massachusetts: Sinauer.
Vitt, L. J., and J. P. Caldwell. 2013. Herpetology. An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. Fourth Edition. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Genus Boulengerula (8 species)
Boulengerula boulengeri account photos no sound/video Boulengerula changamwensis no account photos no sound/video Boulengerula denhardti no account no photos no sound/video Boulengerula fischeri no account photos no sound/video Boulengerula niedeni account photos no sound/video Boulengerula spawlsi no account no photos no sound/video Boulengerula taitana account photos no sound/video Boulengerula uluguruensis account photos no sound/video
Genus Herpele (2 species)
Herpele multiplicata no account no photos no sound/video Herpele squalostoma no account photos no sound/video
Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available: https://amphibiaweb.org/. (Accessed:
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