Wednesday, April 2, 2014

[Herpetology • 2014] Ichthyophis multicolor • A New Species of Striped Ichthyophis Fitzinger, 1826 (Gymnophiona: Ichthyophiidae) from Ayeyarwady Region, Myanmar

FIGURE 1. Preserved holotype (CAS 212264) of Ichthyophis multicolor sp. nov.
Photos by Harry Taylor (The Natural History Museum, London).
Scale gradations = 1 mm.

A new species of striped ichthyophiid caecilian, Ichthyophis multicolor sp. nov., is described on the basis of morphological and molecular data from a sample of 14 specimens from Ayeyarwady Region, Myanmar. The new species resembles superficially the Indian I. tricolor Annandale, 1909 in having both a pale lateral stripe and an adjacent dark ventrolateral stripe contrasting with a paler venter. It differs from I. tricolor in having many more annuli, and in many details of cranial osteology, and molecular data indicate that it is more closely related to other Southeast Asian Ichthyophis than to those of South Asia. The caecilian fauna of Myanmar is exceptionally poorly known but is likely to include chikilids as well as multiple species of Ichthyophis.

Key words: Burma, caecilians, conservation, ichthyophiids, out-of-India, systematics, taxonomy

Etymology. Named for its having more distinct colours than most other Ichthyophis. For nomenclatural purposes the specific epithet is considered to be a noun in apposition.
Suggested English name. Colourful Ichthyophis or Colourful Ich.

Distribution and natural history. This species is known only from the type locality. Specimens were collected on the surface after heavy rain from an area of secondary forest and agriculture. The soil was sandy and hard packed. Local people brought the field team to the locality in response to questions about where ichthyophiids could be found. Although the type series includes no larval specimens it seems very likely that the species, like all other Ichhyophis as far as is known, is oviparous with an aquatic larval stage. This life history is also suggested by the large size of the unlaid eggs (e.g. Wilkinson & Nussbaum 1998).

MARK WILKINSON, BRONWEN PRESSWELL, EMMA SHERRATT, ANNA PAPADOPOULOU & DAVID J. GOWER. 2014.  A New Species of Striped Ichthyophis Fitzinger, 1826 (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Ichthyophiidae) from Myanmar. Zootaxa3785(1);  45–58.