We report the occurrence of the limbless and lungless tetrapod, Atretochoana eiselti, in two widely separated Brazilian Amazonian lowland localities, one (Mosqueiro island and Baía de Marajó, Belém) near the mouth of the Amazon river and another (Cachoeira Santo Antônio) near the border between Brazil and Bolivia in the Madeira river. It is shown that this species is not an inhabitant of cool, oxygen rich and fast running water in elevated localities as supposed until now, but on the contrary occurs in warm (24-30 °C), turbid, fast running water in the lowland Brazilian Amazon basin. We describe the probable habitat and three freshly preserved specimens (one male, two females) and compare them to the only two specimens known; some data are provided about the biology of this species, that seems to have a wide distribution in Brazilian Amazonia and possibly also occurs in other countries, like Bolivia.
Keywords: Atretochoana eiselti. Gymnophiona. Lungless vertebrate. Amazon Basin. Brazil.
Discovery of the largest lungless tetrapod, Atretochoana eiselti (Taylor, 1968) (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Typhlonectidae), in its natural habitat in Brazilian Amazonia
Descoberta do maior Tetrapoda apulmonado, Atretochoana eiselti (Taylor, 1968) (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Typhlonectidae), em seu habitat natural na Amazônia brasileira
Atretochoana : Nussbaum and Wilkinson gave this species its own genus when they reported on the results of their research in a 1995 issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B. The name they gave this genus was Atretochoana, from the Greek word atretos, meaning "imperforate", and the Greek word choana, referring to a funnel or tube.
Nussbaum, Ronald A.; Wilkinson, Mark. 1995. A New Genus of Lungless Tetrapod: A Radically Divergent Caecilian (Amphibia: Gymnophiona). Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B Biological Sciences. 261 (1362): 331–339. DOI:10.1098/rspb.1995.0155.
Wilkinson, M.; Sebben, A.; Schwartz, E.N.F.; Schwartz, C.A. 1998. The largest lungless tetrapod: report on a second specimen of Atretochoana eiselti (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Typhlonectidae) from Brazil. Journal of Natural History. 32 (4): 617–627. DOI:10.1516/Q417-21HR-6615-7217
Hoogmoed, Marinus Steven; Coragem, Juliano Tupan. 2011. Discovery of the largest lungless tetrapod, Atretochoana eiselti (Taylor, 1968) (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Typhlonectidae), in its natural habitat in Brazilian Amazonia. Boletim do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi : Ciências Naturais. 6 (3): 241–262.