Overview

Comprehensive Description

Etymology

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

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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.

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Distribution

Range Description

This species is known only from the Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania. Its altitudinal range is not fully known, though it seems to occur at higher elevations than the other caecilians occurring in the Uluguru Mountains.
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This species is known only from the Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania (Harper et al., 2010).

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Physical Description

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.

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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).

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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).

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Type Information

Paratype for Scolecomorphus uluguruensis
Catalog Number: USNM 73237
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1926
Locality: Nyingwa, Uluguru Mountains, Morogoro, Tanzania, Africa
Elevation (m): 2134 to 2134
  • Paratype: Barbour, T. & Loveridge, A. 1928. Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. 50 (2): 180.
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Paratype for Scolecomorphus uluguruensis
Catalog Number: USNM 73236
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1926
Locality: Nyingwa, Uluguru Mountains, Morogoro, Tanzania, Africa
Elevation (m): 2134 to 2134
  • Paratype: Barbour, T. & Loveridge, A. 1928. Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. 50 (2): 180.
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Look Alikes

Comparisons

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

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It lives in the soil in montane forest. It probably also survives in cultivated areas. It is a viviparous species that is not dependent upon water for breeding.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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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).

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Associations

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

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

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).

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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).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2004

Assessor/s
Simon Loader, Kim Howell, David Gower, John Measey

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

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern since, although its Extent of Occurrence is probably less than 20,000 km2, it occurs in an area of extensive, suitable habitat which appears not to be under threat, it has a presumed large population, and it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
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Population

Population
There is no information, but it has been recently recorded.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no specific threats to this species at the higher elevations of the Ulugurus, where there is very limited human impact.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It is not known from any protected areas.
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Wikipedia

Nyingwa caecilian

The Nyingwa caecilian, Scolecomorphus uluguruensis, is a species of caecilian in the Scolecomorphidae family, endemic to Tanzania. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, rural gardens, and heavily degraded former forest.

References[edit source | edit]


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