Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
Atretochoana eiselti is one of the longest typhlonectids, with the holotype having a total length of 738 mm, with subsequent specimens reaching 1 meter in length (Hoogmoed et al 2011). Based on Wilkinson et al. (1998), this caecilian has a dorsoventrally compressed head, with dorsal eyes in shallow ocular depression; nares countersunk, cheek curved with lower jaws countersunk laterally. The skin is wrinkled, light blue-grey dorsally, lighter ventrally. A white patch is present on the ventral surface of the head between the mandibles and the anterior annuli. The tip of the snout and the areas bordering the mouth are more olive-grey.
A. eiselti is particularly unusual because it lacks lungs, making it the largest lungless tetrapod. The choanal apertures are permanently sealed by fleshy flaps of tissue (Wilkinson and Nussbaum 1997).