Scolecomorphus uluguruensis

Scolecomorphus uluguruensis Barbour and Loveridge, 1928

Languages: English

Overview

Summary

This viviparous species of caecilian is known only from the Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania. It has a darkly colored dorsum (blue or black) and venter (black or grey) with a pink throat and vent.

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Distribution

This species is known only from the Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania (Harper et al., 2010).

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Etymology

This species is named for the type locality, the Uluguru Mountains of Tanzania.

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Description

Diagnostic Description

This species has a darkly colored dorsum and ventrum, with pink throat and vent. Smaller individuals may have a thick pink stripe on the ventrum. Primary annuli range from 124 to 136 in males and 132 to 149 in females (Harper et al., 2010).

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Size

Females are larger than males; snout-vent lengths of males range from 158 – 311 mm and 146 – 330 mm in females (Harper et al., 2010). Holotype measures 215 mm and 9 mm at mid-body (Barbour and Loveridge, 1928).

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Morphology

Head is very small; body is round, thick and heavy, tail blunt. Snout is prominent and obtusely acuminate, projecting far beyond the lower jaw. Teeth are well developed: 16 upper, 12 lower and 6 strongly recurved palatine teeth. Eye is hidden. Tentacle is round and exsertile; it is situated in a horseshoe-shaped groove opening anteriorly, just behind an imaginary line connecting the nostril with the apex of the lower jaw, below and behind the nostril but much nearer the mouth than the nostril. There are 133 annuli in the holotype (124 - 151 among 40 paratypes). It appears probable that annuli of males range from 124 to 139 and females from 140 to 151, but some overlapping may occur. Annuli on the nape are very pronounced, giving an upward tilt to the head in adults (in the young this area is as smooth as in adult B. vittatus). After first 14 to 20 rows on nape, the annuli are interrupted on the vertebral line to the end of the tail; they are not interrupted on the last inch of body and tail in most. The anal opening is close to tip of tail (Barbour and Loveridge, 1928).

In alcohol, dorsum is a dull blue-grey (sometimes glossy in males) inconspicuously merging into the somewhat more plumbeous grey of the ventral surface. Throat, and a similar or more extensive area in front of anal opening, is white. In life this is bright flesh-pink (Barbour and Loveridge, 1928). Channing and Howell (2006) report that the dorsum is blue to jet black, sometimes glossy, the venter is grey, and the throat and anal region are bright pink.

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Comparisons

S.kirkii and S. vittatus are both lighter in color and often have pink ventra (Harper et al., 2010).

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Ecology

Habitat and Ecology

This species is found within the soil and leaf litter of montane forests and likely in the loose fertile soil on farms. It is found at elevations between 600 and 2000 m (Harper et al., 2010).

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Associations

Adults eat earthworms, termites and other macroinvertebrates (Harper et al., 2010).

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Life History

Reproduction

Females give live birth to young, which are probably nutured as others in this genus. Males of this genus are the only known caecilians to have calcified spines on their phallodea (penis; Harper et al., 2010).

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Behaviour

Modes and Mechanisms of Locomotion

Adults probably move around on the surface of the ground; the tentacles are presumed to carry the eyes out of the skull (Harper et al., 2010).

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

References

Harper, E. B., Measey G. J., Patrick D. A., Menegon M., & Vonesh J. R. (2010).  Field Guide to Amphibians of the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests of Tanzania and Kenya. 320. Nairobi, Kenya: Camerapix Publishers International.
 
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