Boulengerula fischeri

Caecilians are among the most unusual amphibians and Boulengerula fischeri is perhaps the most unusual of the species. Described as “living pink spaghetti”, these creatures have about 200 vertebrae and attain lengths up to 400mm in spite of their scant 5mm diameter.

It was known from a single specimen for 20 years and was only recently rediscovered in low-intensity agricultural land in Rwanda. Often confused with earthworms or snakes, caecilians are rarely collected, making assessment of their conservation status problematic.

via New to Nature No 48: Boulengerula fischeri

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One Response to Boulengerula fischeri

  1. alfy says:

    Fascinating post, Jim. Years ago, when the world was young, back in the fifties, I was a student doing some work in the labs of the Natural History Museum. I was studying an amphibian known as an Amphisboena. The name means, “going both ways” because the front and back look almost the same. It is an amphibian which looks like a small snake about eighteen inches long. I am not sure whether it is a caecilian or not, but it looks like it.

    What caught my attention was the paper Collection Slip in the jar of preservative, telling when and where it was collected. It said, “Kohima, 1944” . This was one of the most hard-fought battles of the British against the Japanese. It turned the tide and eventually enabled the British to drive the Japanese out of Burma. There must have been a zoologist serving in the British forces who spotted this creature in the midst of the din of battle and promptly collected and preserved it for the Museum.
    At the time it never occurred to me to pursue my curiosity about the collector any further, through the Museum staff.

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