Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
Diagnosis: Gegeneophis madhavai is distinguished from all other Gegeneophis by the following combination of characters: having eyes that are visible (though barely), less than 100 primary annuli, and secondary annuli numbering more than 25 and confined to the posterior of the body (Bhatta and Srinivasa 2004).
Description: The two specimens found so far measured 256 mm (the male holotype) and 218 mm in total length. The body is subcylindrical and slightly compressed dorsoventrally. Along the body, the width is not uniform; the holotype measured 8.8 mm wide at the first annular groove, 11.7 mm at the broadest part of the midbody, 8.5 mm wide at 55 mm anterior to the terminus, 10.6 mm just anterior to the vent, and 8.6 mm wide at the vent level. Midbody circumference of the holotype was 34 mm, A midventral longitudinal groove runs between the third nuchal groove and the vent. Primary annuli numbered 97 for the holotype and 96 for the paratype, while secondary annuli numbered 35 for the holotype and 27 for the paratype. Secondary annuli were confined to the posterior of the body, beginning only at the 63rd-70th primary annulus in the holotype and paratype respectively. The head tapers to a narrow, bluntly rounded snout. The nares are small and subcircular, surrounded by a narrow rim, and are slightly closer to the snout tip than the anteriormost margin of the mouth. The mouth is subterminal. Tentacles are globular in life. The tentacular apertures are circular, slightly raised, visible in both dorsal and ventral views, and positioned closer to the nostrils than the snout tip. Eyes are barely visible in life and not visible in the preserved holotype. Tooth counts are as follows: 22-25 premaxillary-maxillary, 22 vomeropalatine, 15-19 dentary, 4 splenial. Teeth are recurved and monocusped. Choanae are small and circular, with the distance between them being about 2x the choanal width. The tongue is broadly rounded in dorsal view and free anteriorly. Narial plugs are raised and have grooves encircling them. The nuchal region is raised, with two nuchal collars marked by three distinct nuchal grooves. The body was examined at five different points for the presence of scales; for the holotype, none were found on the 40th primary annulus, while on the 50th and 56th primary annuli, oval scales were found in two rows on the dorsal surface; on the 90th primary annulus (where secondary annular grooves become complete ventrally) scales are found in two rows on both the dorsal and ventral surfaces; for the 91st and posterior primary annuli, scales occur in three rows on both dorsal and ventral surfaces in each annular groove. No true tail is present. The terminus is subcircular and ends in a cap demarcated by the final primary annular groove. The vent is transverse, encircled by nine or ten denticles (Bhatta and Srinivasa 2004).
Coloration In life: The ground color is pinkish gray at the anterior, becoming dark gray towards the posterior 2/3 of the body. The head is light pink on the dorsal side, and pinkish gray on the ventral side, with an inverted light pink V-shaped mark underneath the lower jaw. Whitish glands are scattered over the body. The disc around the vent is whitish (Bhatta and Srinivasa 2004).
Coloration in preserved specimens: The body is dark gray on the dorsal side and becomes light gray towards the ventral side. Annular grooves are whitish, and more conspicuous laterally. The entire dorsal surface of the head is a light cream. The ventral surface of the lower jaw is the same color as the rest of the body, but has a 2 mm cream-colored border. The disc around vent is whitish in preservation, as it is in life (Bhatta and Srinivasa 2004).
Similar species: G. madhavai can be distinguished from G. seshachari by having secondary annuli (vs. secondary annuli not present in G. seshachari). It can be distinguished from G. ramaswamii in having visible eyes in life (vs. eyes not visible in G. ramaswamii). It can be distinguished from G. danieli and G. nadkarnii inhaving secondary annular grooves confined to the posterior end of the body. It can be distinguished from G. carnosus, G. seshachari, G. danieli, G. nadkarnii and G. krishni in having fewer than 100 primary annuli (vs. more than 100 primary annuli for these species). G. madhavai is distinct from G. fulleri in having more than 25 secondary annuli (Bhatta and Srinivasa 2004).
Species authority: Bhatta and Srinivasa (2004).
Gegeneophis madhavai was named in reference to Madhava Bhat, Madhavarao Bhide, Madhava Anantha Pai and Madhava Gadgil for their support to the first author of the original paper describing this species. A subsequent paper (Das 2006) emended the name to Gegeneophis madhavaorum since the name was given in honor of multiple workers, but that emendation has not been followed by most caecilian researchers. Phylogenetic analysis of Western Ghats species of Gegeneophis showed that G. madhavai was most closely related to G. danieli, G. goaensis, and G. mhadeiensis (Gower et al. 2011).