AmphibiaWeb - Ichthyophis multicolor


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Ichthyophis multicolor Wilkinson, Presswell, Sherratt, Papadopoulou & Gower, 2014
Colorful Ichthyophis, Colorful Ich
family: Ichthyophiidae
genus: Ichthyophis
Species Description: Wilkinson M, Presswell B, Sherratt E, Papadopoulou A, Gower DJ 2014 A new species of striped Ichthyophis Fitzinger, 1826 (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Ichthyophiidae) from Myanmar. Zootaxa 3785: 45-58.

© 2014 Emma Sherratt (1 of 5)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Ichthyophis multicolor has a snout-to-vent length ranging 168-402 mm in adults and subadults. This species was described from preserved specimens. From a dorsal view, the head sports a V shape. From a lateral view, the corner of the mouth is located just a bit farther from the top of the head than the bottom of the head, though the eyes are set halfway between the mouth and the top of the head. From a ventral view, the lower jaws are slightly shorter than the upper jaws. It has very slim and recurved teeth. The tongue is dull in shape and very corrugated towards the back. The neck is noticeably wider than the head and the body. The tentacles are located just above the mouth, and are two times closer to the eyes and the nostrils. Annular grooves are fairly incomplete by the vent and tail, though mostly complete in the midventral region and in the backside. The body gets wider from the head down until the midbody, before narrowing towards the hindbody, though more gradually than the forebody. Scale pockets are found unevenly distributed throughout the annular grooves. The tail is tapered off into a triangular shape and turned upward, with a short cap at the end that is as long as the previous three tail annular grooves or two body annular grooves (Wilkinson et al. 2014).

Ichthyophis multicolor is the only Ichthyophis species besides I. tricolor that has a pale vent, as well as an adjacent darker stripe running lengthwise down the vent’s sides. It is differentiated from I. tricolor by its many more annuli (>325) and having tentacles farther from the nose than from the eyes (Wilkinson et al. 2014).

In preservative, Ichthyophis multicolor has a whitish stripe that runs down the sides of its body, as well as a neighboring, darker, smaller stripe that runs down the sides of its vent. The backside of preserved specimens is brown grey in color, though the head is greyer. The vent is distinctly whitish, which contrasts with the darker underside. Underside color varies substantially, though it is lighter than the backside (Wilkinson et al. 2014).

Larger caecilians generally have more teeth, though not substantially more than smaller ones. Smaller caecilians do not have as many scale pockets distributed on their annular grooves as larger caecilians. Some caecilians’ midventral regions are spotty white, others’ are with an irregular stripe, and some do not have white at all in that region (Wilkinson et al. 2014).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Myanmar


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
This species has only been described from 14 specimens caught in a small locality in the Ayeyarwady Region of Myanmar. The area where they were found was in an agricultural and secondary forest region, and they were collected on the surface of sandy, packed soil (Wilkinson et al. 2014).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
They are probably oviparous with an aquatic larval stage, as all other Ichthyophis share this feature (Wilkinson et al. 2014).

Trends and Threats
The threats to this species are currently unknown, though its presence has been known by locals for a while and specimens were collected in a disturbed habitat (Wilkinson et al. 2014).

Relation to Humans
They coexist with farmers in agricultural land (Wilkinson et al. 2014).

This is the first caecilian species to be described from Myanmar. Some of its cranial features include an open grooved tentacular canal in the maxillopalatine, an oblique prefrontal posterior edge, a short pterygoid process of the quadrate, and a long anterior process of the pterygoid (Wilkinson et al. 2014).

Ichthyophis multicolor descended from earlier Ichthyophis species who diverged from South Asia into Southeast Asia via northeast India. It is sister to all other Southeast Asian taxa of Ichthyophis (Wilkinson et al. 2014).

It obtained its name for being more colorful than most other Ichthyophis (Wilkinson et al. 2014).


Wilkinson, M., Presswell, B., Sherratt, E.,Papadopoulou, A., Gower, D. (2014). ''A new species of striped Ichthyophis Fitzinger, 1826 (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Ichthyophiidae) from Myanmar.'' Zootaxa,

Originally submitted by: Gordon Lau (first posted 2014-10-20)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2021-10-03)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Ichthyophis multicolor: Colorful Ichthyophis <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Dec 1, 2023.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 1 Dec 2023.

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