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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Diagnosis: A relatively robust caecilian with plumbeous (lead-gray) dorsal color, visible eyes, and a head that does not contrast in color with the body (Savage 2002).

Description: Dermophis gracilior is moderately sized and measures up to 387 mm in total length. This is a somewhat robust species, with a total length-to-body width ratio from 23 to 34 in adults. Total annuli number 156 to 208, with 91 to 117 primary annuli and 65 to 96 secondary annuli. Dorsal surface is lead-gray color, while the venter is cream with dark mottling or mostly gray to dull black. The annular grooves are the same shade as adjacent areas (Savage 2002).

This taxon may represent more than one species; see Savage (2002) for comments. It was removed from synonymy with Dermophis mexicanus by Savage and Wake (2001). It was first described by Günther (1902).

A Spanish-language species account can be found at the website of Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio).

  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
  • Savage, J. M., and Wake, M. H. (2001). ''Reevaluation of the status of taxa of Central American caecilians (Amphibia: Gymnophiona) with comments on their origin and evolution.'' Copeia, 2001(1), 52-64.
  • Wake, M.H. (1980). "Reproduction, growth, and population structure of the Central American caecilian Dermophis mexicanus (Amphibia: Gymnophiona)." Herpetologica, 36, 244-256.
  • Günther, A. C. L. G. (1902). ''Reptilia and Batrachia. Part 170.'' Biologia Centrali Americana. Volume 7 O. Salvin and F. D. Godman , eds., R. H. Porter and Dulau & Co., London.
  • Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Chaves, G., Savage, J., Jaramillo, C., Fuenmayor, Q., Wilkinson, M., and Bolaños, F. (2008). Dermophis gracilior. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 13 May 2010.
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is known from the Pacific versant of the Cordillera de Talamanca in Panama and Costa Rica at altitudes of 404-2,000m asl, and has also been recorded from the central Pacific area of Costa Rica (Gerardo Chaves pers. comm.).
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Distribution and Habitat

This species is distributed along the humid Pacific lowlands and premontane slopes of Costa Rica and western Panama (Savage 2002). It is also found in the premontane zone of the Costa Rican Atlantic slope and the southern lower montane belt of the Cordillera de Talamanca at elevations ranging from 400 to 2,000 m (Savage 2002). Dermophis gracilior lives under logs and surface debris in lowland moist forest, premontane wet forest and rainforest, and lower montane rainforest (Savage 2002).

  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
  • Savage, J. M., and Wake, M. H. (2001). ''Reevaluation of the status of taxa of Central American caecilians (Amphibia: Gymnophiona) with comments on their origin and evolution.'' Copeia, 2001(1), 52-64.
  • Wake, M.H. (1980). "Reproduction, growth, and population structure of the Central American caecilian Dermophis mexicanus (Amphibia: Gymnophiona)." Herpetologica, 36, 244-256.
  • Günther, A. C. L. G. (1902). ''Reptilia and Batrachia. Part 170.'' Biologia Centrali Americana. Volume 7 O. Salvin and F. D. Godman , eds., R. H. Porter and Dulau & Co., London.
  • Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Chaves, G., Savage, J., Jaramillo, C., Fuenmayor, Q., Wilkinson, M., and Bolaños, F. (2008). Dermophis gracilior. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 13 May 2010.
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Countries

Countries

Costa Rica, Panama

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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Identification

Adult

Species description based on Savage (2002).  A moderate sized caecilian (to 387 mm total length) with a robust body.

Dorsal

The dorsal surface is dark grey-black.

Distinguishing characteristics

Number of primary annuli: 91-117  Number of secondary annuli: 65-96  Total annuli: 159-208

Eye

The eye is visible in this species.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This is a subterranean species that inhabits humid lowland, premontane and montane forest. It is presumed to be viviparous, like other species of Dermophis.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Habitat

Lowland and premontane forest between 400 and 2000 m.

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Trophic Strategy

Diet

Diet

Dermophis gracilior consumes earthworms, termites, and insect larvae (Savage 2002).

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General Ecology

Ecology

Ecology

A fossorial species, it has been found under logs or leaf litter (Savage 2002).

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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Life History

Reproduction

As far as is known, all species in the genus Dermophis are viviparous, giving birth to live young (Savage 2002).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
DD
Data Deficient

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2004

Assessor/s
Frank Solís, Roberto Ibáñez, Gerardo Chaves, Jay Savage, César Jaramillo, Querube Fuenmayor, Mark Wilkinson, Federico Bolaños

Reviewer/s
Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Data Deficient in view of continuing uncertainties as to its taxonomic status, extent of occurrence and ecological requirements.
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Population

Population
There is no information on its population status; it is known only from three specimens.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

D. gracilior is known from only a few specimens, like most caecilians. This is a fossorial species which can sometimes be encountered on the surface and also under rotting logs and surface litter (Savage 2002). It eats mostly earthworms and termites along with other insect larvae and instars (Savage 2002). Development may be similar to Dermophis mexicanus in that it occurs within the maternal oviduct; the embryo utilizes yolk for nutrition before emerging from the egg membrane (Wake 1980). Fetuses have specialized teeth that are used to scrape the oviduct and stimulate specialized maternal secretions (Savage 2002). These teeth are spoon shaped with a single or double median spike; early in development the fetal teeth have a double spike, while later in development there is only a single tooth spike (Savage 2002). Two to sixteen offspring are produced in a litter, with neonates measuring 110 to 150 mm in total length (Savage 2002). Females are sexually mature at 300 mm or greater in total length (Savage 2002).

  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
  • Savage, J. M., and Wake, M. H. (2001). ''Reevaluation of the status of taxa of Central American caecilians (Amphibia: Gymnophiona) with comments on their origin and evolution.'' Copeia, 2001(1), 52-64.
  • Wake, M.H. (1980). "Reproduction, growth, and population structure of the Central American caecilian Dermophis mexicanus (Amphibia: Gymnophiona)." Herpetologica, 36, 244-256.
  • Günther, A. C. L. G. (1902). ''Reptilia and Batrachia. Part 170.'' Biologia Centrali Americana. Volume 7 O. Salvin and F. D. Godman , eds., R. H. Porter and Dulau & Co., London.
  • Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Chaves, G., Savage, J., Jaramillo, C., Fuenmayor, Q., Wilkinson, M., and Bolaños, F. (2008). Dermophis gracilior. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 13 May 2010.
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Threats

Major Threats
The extent to which deforestation is a threat to this species is unknown, although some general habitat loss is known to be occurring in parts of its range.
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

It occurs within at least two protected areas, the Estación Biológica Las Cruces (Costa Rica) and in Parque Internacional La Amistad (Panama). Habitat loss may threaten this species in parts of its range (Solís et al. 2008).

  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
  • Savage, J. M., and Wake, M. H. (2001). ''Reevaluation of the status of taxa of Central American caecilians (Amphibia: Gymnophiona) with comments on their origin and evolution.'' Copeia, 2001(1), 52-64.
  • Wake, M.H. (1980). "Reproduction, growth, and population structure of the Central American caecilian Dermophis mexicanus (Amphibia: Gymnophiona)." Herpetologica, 36, 244-256.
  • Günther, A. C. L. G. (1902). ''Reptilia and Batrachia. Part 170.'' Biologia Centrali Americana. Volume 7 O. Salvin and F. D. Godman , eds., R. H. Porter and Dulau & Co., London.
  • Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Chaves, G., Savage, J., Jaramillo, C., Fuenmayor, Q., Wilkinson, M., and Bolaños, F. (2008). Dermophis gracilior. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 13 May 2010.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It has been found at the Estación Biológica Las Cruces (Costa Rica) and in Parque Internacional La Amistad (Panama).
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Wikipedia

Dermophis gracilior

Dermophis gracilior is a species of amphibian in the Dermophiidae family found in Costa Rica and Panama. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, plantations, rural gardens, and heavily degraded former forests.

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