Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I am not discussing here about me shifting to a new location or about my new neighbours who have recently moved in from Nagpur. But I am referring to a new Amphibian family found in Northeast India.

These new amphibian belong to the caecilian group of amphibians, has been called Chikilidae after the name used by the local Garo tribal language. Much less is known about these legless amphibians unlike their more famous and local amphibian cousins, the frogs.

They are often misunderstood as dangerous and poisonous snakes these vulnerable creatures end up being chopped by farmers because of their mistaken identity. Rather harmless creatures, the Chikilidae may even be the farmer’s best friend, feasting on worms and insects that might harm the crops and churning the soil as it moves underground where it seems more safe and secure.

This new family was discovered by S.D Biju, a professor at the University of Delhi who led this project with team members from Britain and Belgium working for the past five years.

It was a challenging physical job digging with spades at locations looking for worms like creatures, which are about 20 centimeter long(eight inches precisely) long and often 25 centimetres deep into the earth.

An adult Chikilidae remains with its eggs until they hatch, forgoing food for nearly 50 days. When the eggs hatch, the young ones emerge as tiny adults.

They grow about 10 centimetres and have hard skull which they use to get through some of the regions toughest soils, escaping quickly at the slightest vibration. Just like a rocket. If you miss it you’ll never catch it again.

Biju however feels, there are still 30-40 percent of the country’s amphibians yet to be found.

Habitat Destruction Is A Big Problem Worldwide And Discoveries Like This Prove That We Must Protect The Environment To Save Parts Of The Natural World We Know Very Little About.

So Let’s Do Our Bit To Save Nature. We Have No Right To Destroy Anything Not Created By Us.

Natasha D’cunha.

Roll No. 06

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