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Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 190522254

Revealing the mystery of The Endemic Sumatran Caecilian (Ichthyophis elongatus): An Ecology study, and how to conserve it

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 190522254) - Elongated Caecilian - Awarded $4,500 on February 27, 2020

Firstly, this project will determine the species identification for caecilians in West Sumatra through morphology identification. We will provide a comprehensive morphological description to confirm the species, as there is no available information about these. Secondly, we will get the ecological data of the preferred habitat and provide clear information on environmental data as well as vegetation data in associated habitat. With its ecological information, we will try to model its distribution throughout West Sumatra and see for more potential sites. This project will also try to observe any potential threat for this species in the area and increase the awareness of the locals towards this animal.

The population status of this species is poorly known and it has been categorized as Data Deficient by IUCN. This is because not many study has been done for this species as it is quite hard to find them in a high number of individual. It lives on a specific type of habitat and spends most of its lives burrowing under the ground. When we surveyed several sites in West Sumatra, it is often found in paddy fields, trash dumps, and fish ponds.

In many references, climate change and forest conversion to an agricultural area in Sumatra have been considered as big threats to caecilians. Given this information, our experiences finding a bunch of them in an agricultural area in Tanah Datar seems telling us a different way. Sadly, in Tanah Datar’s case is also telling us about another threat for this animal, locals kill it because they think caecilians are venomous snakes. A further study and observation in this area could be able to tell us more about its habitat use, ecology, taxonomy, and potential threat. With adequate information which could be resulted from our study, a correct conservation effort could be taken and the population trend could be monitored.


The project is completed, Please check this article for Indonesian readers https://www.mongabay.co.id/2021/03/26/bukan-ular-caecilian-ini-amfibi-endemik-sumatera-barat/

Project document