IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

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History of Classification

Dermophis mexicanus was originally classified as Siphonops mexicanus in 1841 (Dumeril, 1981). It was reclassified as Amphisbaena versatilis in 1850 (Gray, 1850). In 1880, it was first classified by its current name, Dermophis mexicanus (Peters, 1880). In 1968, it was mistakenly classified as Dermophis eburatus (Taylor, 1968).

Before 1968, all caecilians were classified in a single family, Caeciliaidae (Nussbaum, 1989). Three new families were added in 1968 and 1969: Ichthyophiidae, Typhlonectidae, and Scolecomorphidae; the latter was further divided into Caeciliinae and Dermophiinae, to which D. mexicanus now belongs. In 1980, Dermophiinae was further divided into old Old World and New World varieties; however, this was reversed in 1989 (Nussbaum, 1989). In 2011, a large large-scale phylogenetic analysis of amphibians found Caeciliidae paraphyletic. It also merged Caeciliinae and Typhlonectidae. Despite these results, Caeciliidae is still generally considered a valid family. The NCBI places Dermophis in the family Dermophiidae. However, most other classifications place assign Dermophis to Caeciliidae.

Duméril, A. M. C., and G. Bibron. 1841. Erpétologie Genérale ou Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles. Volume 8. Paris: Librarie Enclyclopedique de Roret.

Gray, J. E. 1850. Catalogue of the Specimens of Amphibia in the Collection of the British Museum. Part II. Batrachia Gradientia, etc. Printed by Order of the Trustees. London: Spottiswoodes and Shaw.

Nussbaum, R. A., and M. Wilkinson. 1989. On the classification and phylogeny of caecilians (Amphibia: Gymnophiona), a critical review. Herpetological Monographs 3: 1.

Peters, W. C. H. 1880 "1879". Über die Eintheilung der Caecilien und insbesondere über die Gattungen Rhinatrema und Gymnopis. Monatsberichte der Königlichen Preussische Akademie des Wissenschaften zu Berlin 1879: 924–945.

Pyron, R. A., and J. J. Wiens. 2011. A large-scale phylogeny of Amphibia including over 2800 species, and a revised classification of extant frogs, salamanders, and caecilians. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 61: 543-83.

Taylor, E. H. 1968. The Caecilians of the World: A Taxonomic Review. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press.


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