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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Dermophis parviceps is a small slender species of caecilian which grows to 217 mm in length (Savage 2002). It is the most slender caecilian in Costa Rica (Leenders 2001). It can be distinguished by a pink to gray-brown head that contrasts with the purplish slate color of the dorsum (Savage 2002). Ventrally, this caecilian is grayish (Savage 2002). The throat, lower jaw, and the area near the vent are white (Leenders 2001). The eyes are visible through the skin (Savage 2002). A short tentacle is located about halfway between the eye and nostril on each side of its head (Savage 2002; Leenders 2001). The head is elongated (Leenders 2001). This species has both primary and secondary annuli; 85-102 primary annuli and 11-26 secondary annuli may be present, with total numbers of annuli ranging from 97-126 (Savage 2002). The secondary annuli are few in number compared to other sympatric caecilians, and occur at the posterior of the animal near the vent (Leenders 2001). As with all caecilians, there are no external ear openings (Leenders 2001).

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

  • Leenders, T. (2001). A Guide to Amphibians And Reptiles of Costa Rica. Zona Tropical, Miami.
  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
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Description

Dermophis parviceps is a small slender species of caecilian which grows to 217 mm in length (Savage 2002). It is the most slender caecilian in Costa Rica (Leenders 2001). It can be distinguished by a pink to gray-brown head that contrasts with the purplish slate color of the dorsum (Savage 2002). Ventrally, this caecilian is grayish (Savage 2002). The throat, lower jaw, and the area near the vent are white (Leenders 2001). The eyes are visible through the skin (Savage 2002). A short tentacle is located about halfway between the eye and nostril on each side of its head (Savage 2002; Leenders 2001). The head is elongated (Leenders 2001). This species has both primary and secondary annuli; 85-102 primary annuli and 11-26 secondary annuli may be present, with total numbers of annuli ranging from 97-126 (Savage 2002). The secondary annuli are few in number compared to other sympatric caecilians, and occur at the posterior of the animal near the vent (Leenders 2001). As with all caecilians, there are no external ear openings (Leenders 2001).

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

  • Leenders, T. (2001). A Guide to Amphibians And Reptiles of Costa Rica. Zona Tropical, Miami.
  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to both the Atlantic slopes and lowlands of Costa Rica and Panama, and also occurs in parts of central Panama. It is present on Isla Popa, in the Bocas del Toro, Panama. It has an altitudinal range of 40-1,200 m asl.
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Distribution and Habitat

This species occurs in Costa Rica and Panama, from sea level to 1220 m in elevation (Savage, 2002). It inhabits lowland moist and wet forests, premontane moist and wet forests, and premontane rainforest (Savage 2002). It can be found under logs or leaf litter, usually in undisturbed forest (Savage 2002). It may also be found by excavating down to 400-600 mm below the soil surface, in between tree buttresses (Savage 2002).

  • Leenders, T. (2001). A Guide to Amphibians And Reptiles of Costa Rica. Zona Tropical, Miami.
  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
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Distribution and Habitat

This species occurs in Costa Rica and Panama, from sea level to 1220 m in elevation (Savage, 2002). It inhabits lowland moist and wet forests, premontane moist and wet forests, and premontane rainforest (Savage 2002). It can be found under logs or leaf litter, usually in undisturbed forest (Savage 2002). It may also be found by excavating down to 400-600 mm below the soil surface, in between tree buttresses (Savage 2002).

  • Leenders, T. (2001). A Guide to Amphibians And Reptiles of Costa Rica. Zona Tropical, Miami.
  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
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Countries

Countries

Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It is a subterranean species that inhabits humid montane and lowland forest, and it can sometimes be found under logs or in leaf-litter. It is present in saturated, but not flooded areas (Brian Kubicki pers. comm.). Its adaptability to secondary habitats is unknown. It is presumed to be a viviparous species that is not dependent on water.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Habitat

Lowland and premontane forest to 1200 m.

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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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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Dermophis parviceps

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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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
2015

Assessor/s
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group

Reviewer/s
Hobin, L.

Contributor/s
Wetterau, A., Gratwicke, B., Kubicki, B., Jaramillo, C., Berlin, E., Bolaos, F., Sols, F., Chaves, G., Savage, J., Wilkinson, M., Fuenmayor, Q. & Ibez, R.

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution and presumed large population.

History
  • 2008
    Least Concern (LC)
  • 2004
    Least Concern (LC)
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Population

Population
The population status of this species is poorly known. It has been found at reasonably high densities in some localities; six individuals were found when digging a small pond within sedge peat (Eric Berlin pers. comm. 2007). In Costa Rica, it is common in the San Vito region (Santos-Barrera et al. 2007), but unusual in Guayacan (Kubicki 2008).

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

This is a rare species of caecilian (Savage 2002). These animals are very secretive. They spend most of their time underground or under logs, rocks or leaf litter, seldom venturing into the open (Leenders 2001).

Dermophis parviceps is likely to be viviparous, in keeping with the other members of the genus Dermophis. Caecilian larvae from live-bearing species develop within the mother's body, and feed on maternal secretions from the oviduct. Oviductal secretions are stimulated by the larvae's scraping the oviduct wall with specialized fetal teeth. These specialized teeth are replaced after birth with adult teeth, allowing the juveniles and adults to consume a range of invertebrate prey such as worms and insect larvae (Leenders 2001).

  • Leenders, T. (2001). A Guide to Amphibians And Reptiles of Costa Rica. Zona Tropical, Miami.
  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

This is a rare species of caecilian (Savage 2002). These animals are very secretive. They spend most of their time underground or under logs, rocks or leaf litter, seldom venturing into the open (Leenders 2001).

Dermophis parviceps is likely to be viviparous, in keeping with the other members of the genus Dermophis. Caecilian larvae from live-bearing species develop within the mother's body, and feed on maternal secretions from the oviduct. Oviductal secretions are stimulated by the larvae's scraping the oviduct wall with specialized fetal teeth. These specialized teeth are replaced after birth with adult teeth, allowing the juveniles and adults to consume a range of invertebrate prey such as worms and insect larvae (Leenders 2001).

  • Leenders, T. (2001). A Guide to Amphibians And Reptiles of Costa Rica. Zona Tropical, Miami.
  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
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Threats

Major Threats
The extent to which deforestation is a threat to the species is unknown, as its adaptability to secondary habitats is unclear.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions
It occurs in many protected areas of Panama and Costa Rica.

Research Needed
Taxonomic studies are required for the sub-populations in Costa Rica (G. Chaves pers. comm. 2015).
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Wikipedia

Dermophis parviceps

Dermophis parviceps 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 and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.

References

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