Caecilia Linnaeus, 1758

Class: Amphibia > Order: Gymnophiona > Family: Caeciliidae > Genus: Caecilia
40 species

Caecilia Linnaeus, 1758, Syst. Nat., Ed. 10, 1: 229. Type species: Caecilia tentaculata Linnaeus, 1758, by subsequent designation of Dunn, 1942, Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., 91: 494. See also comment by Stejneger, 1936, Copeia, 1936: 139.

Coecilia —Latreille In Sonnini de Manoncourt and Latreille, 1801 "An. X", Hist. Nat. Rept., 4: 237. Incorrect subsequent spelling of Caecilia Linnaeus, 1758.

CécilieDuméril and Bibron, 1841, Erp. Gen., 6: 271. French equivalent of Caecilia Wagler, 1828 (= Caecilia Linnaeus, 1758).

Amphiumophis Werner, 1901, Abh. Ber. Zool. Anthropol. Ethnograph. Mus. Dresden, 9: 14. Type species: Amphiumophis andicola Werner, 1901, by monotypy. Provisional synonymy by Taylor, 1968, Caecilians of the World: 347.

Nomina inquirenda - Name(s) unassigned to a living or extinct population

Caecilia mertensi Taylor, 1973, Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull., 50: 210. Holotype: CAS 63983, by original designation. Type locality: "'Seychelle Isle.' It is most probably a specimen from South America. . . . Despite the attached data". Mertens' Caecilian (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 23). Maciel and Hoogmoed, 2011, Zootaxa, 2984: 11–14, provided a detailed account of nominal Caecilia marcusi and a spot map, and noted no substantial diagnostic differences between that taxon and Caecilia mertensi, but having not examined the holotype of the latter, refrained from placing Caecilia marcusi in the synonymy of Caecilia mertensi. See comment under Caecilia marcusi. 

English Names

Common Caecilians (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 23).


Panama and northern South American south to Bolivia.


Suggested to be paraphyletic with respect to Oscaecilia by Nussbaum and Wilkinson, 1989, Herpetol. Monogr., 3: 34. Brusquetti and Lavilla, 2006, Cuad. Herpetol., 20: 22, suggested that previous statements of Caecilia sp. from Paraguay were in error. Wilkinson and Nussbaum, 2006, In Exbrayat (ed.), Reprod. Biol. Phylog. Gymnophiona: 49, 61, diagnosed the taxon and suggested that the monophyly of this taxon with respect to Oscaecilia remains undocumented, as did Maciel, Mott, and Hoogmoed, 2009, Zootaxa, 2226: 19–27. Pyron and Wiens, 2011, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 61: 543–583 (see comment in Amphibia record) on the basis of molecular evidence suggested that Caecilia is paraphyletic with respect to Oscaecilia. Köhler, 2011, Amph. Cent. Am.: 29–30, provided a brief summary of natural history, a key to the species of Central America, and range maps and photographs of the species. Fernández-Roldán, Lynch, and Medina-Rangel, 2023, Zootaxa, 5227: 205–228, provided an identification key to the species of Colombia.  

Contained taxa (40 sp.):

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