Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Striped Caecilian: Limbless Amphibian spotted in Kaziranga’s fauna


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Striped Caecilian, Herpetofauna

Why in the News?

  • A limbless amphibian, the striped caecilian (Ichthyophis spp), has been newly identified within the 1,307.49 sq. km Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve.
    • Assam’s wildlife officials reported its discovery during a herpetofauna survey.

Back2Basics: Herpetofauna

  • Herpetofauna refers to a group of reptiles and amphibians collectively.
  • The term combines “herpeto-” from the Greek “herpeton,” meaning “creeping animal,” and “fauna,” referring to the animal species found in a particular region or time.
  • Herpetofauna play essential roles in ecosystems:
    • They act as both predators and prey, help regulate insect populations, and serve as indicators of environmental health.
    • They serve as environmental indicators and play significant roles in pest control.

About Striped Caecilian

  • The Striped Caecilian (Ichthyophis spp.) is a type of limbless amphibian belonging to the family Ichthyophiidae.
  • Caecilians are often mistaken for snakes or worms due to their elongated, cylindrical bodies and lack of limbs.
  • They are primarily found in tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
  • They usually live underground or in moist soil habitats.

Key features of the Striped Caecilian include:

  1. They have smooth, cylindrical bodies with a ringed or striped pattern, hence the name “striped.”
  2. Caecilians are predominantly fossorial (burrowing), spending most of their lives underground or in leaf litter. This behaviour makes them elusive and difficult to study.
  3. They are carnivorous, feeding on small invertebrates found in soil and leaf litter.
  4. Their eyesight is generally poor, and they rely on chemoreception (sensing chemicals in the environment) to locate prey.
  5. Caecilians are known for their unique reproductive strategies, which can involve live births or laying eggs. Some species exhibit parental care, with adults guarding eggs or young offspring.

Significance: Kaziranga’s Biodiversity

  • Kaziranga National Park’s diverse ecosystem, encompassing flood plains, wetlands, grasslands, and hill tracts, provides an ideal habitat for herpetofauna.
  • The park hosts 24 amphibian species, 74 reptile species, and 21 of India’s 29 species of tortoises and freshwater turtles.

About Kaziranga National Park

Location Assam, India
Geographical Features Situated between Brahmaputra River and Karbi (Mikir) Hills
Significance Eastern Himalayan Biodiversity Hotspot
Rivers Diphlu River runs through the park
Highways National Highway 37 passes through the park
Legal Status
  • Designated as a National Park in 1974.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site (1985).
  • Important Bird Area by Birdlife International
Key Conservation Achievements
  • Houses around 2/3rd of the world’s Great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros.
  • Declared a Tiger Reserve due to high tiger density
‘Big Five’ species Great Indian One-Horned Rhino, Asian Elephant, Royal Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Water Buffalo, Swamp Deer
Aquatic Species Gangetic River Dolphin
Vegetation Wet Alluvial Grasslands, Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests, Semi-Evergreen




[2024] The organisms “Cicada, Froghopper and Pond skater are:

(a) Birds

(b) Fish

(c) Insects

(d) Reptiles

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