Scolecomorphus kirkii
Kirk's Caecilian
family: Scolecomorphidae

© 2016 Dr. Joachim Nerz (1 of 9)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Least Concern (LC)
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Scolecomorphus kirkii is the largest species of Scolecomorphus; adults range from 215-463 mm in length. There are 130-152 primary annuli. Dorsally, the coloration is lavender-gray; this coloration extends ventrally so that it encroaches on the sides of the venter. Midventral surfaces are flesh or cream colored. The top and sides of the head are dark, but a light area is visible along the tentacle tract. Eyes are located on the tentacles, which allows the eyes to be projected outside the skull when the tentacles are extruded, and the black retina is visible through the skin and skull bones.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, United Republic of


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Scolecomorphus kirkii occurs in Eastern equatorial Africa in Malawi and Tanzania. Recently they have also been documented from Mount Namuli, Mozambique (Farooq and Conradie 2015). These caecilians inhabit tropical rainforest and agricultural areas in mountainous regions. They are found in surface litters and soils.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
These caecilians are efficient burrowers. The diet consists of arthropods, with soil also being found in the guts. This species is viviparous.

Trends and Threats
Not threatened.


H.O.M. Farooq and W. Conradie (2015). ''A second record of Scolecomorphus kirkii Boulenger, 1883 (Gymnophiona: Scolecomorphidae) for Mozambique.'' Herpetology Notes, 8, 59-62.

Nussbaum, R. A. (2003). ''Kirk's caecilian, Scolecomorphus kirkii.'' Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, Volume 6, Amphibians. 2nd edition. M. Hutchins, W. E. Duellman, and N. Schlager, eds., Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Written by Peera Chantasirivisal (Kris818 AT, URAP, UC Berkeley
First submitted 2005-09-27
Edited by Kellie Whittaker; updated Michelle S.Koo (2015-03-15)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2015 Scolecomorphus kirkii: Kirk's Caecilian <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Oct 23, 2020.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2020. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 23 Oct 2020.

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