IUCN threat status:

Data Deficient (DD)

Comprehensive Description

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Idiocranium russeli is a small caecilian with a snout-vent length of 51 - 114 mm. The long snout is prominent and pointed. The distance from the snout to the anterior border of the eye is a longer than the interocular distance. The eyes are visible. The species has paired globular tentacles located behind and below the nostril in a groove with a ring-shaped opening. It has 12 maxillary teeth, 6 premaxillary teeth, 5 vomerine teeth, 9 palatine teeth, 12 outer mandibular teeth, and 2 inner mandibular teeth on each side. There are 83 to 90 primary annuli (mode 86), that are sometimes obscure on the mid-dorsal and mid-ventral line, and of which the first two folds are separated from the remainder by a broad interspace; there are 21 to 29 secondary annuli (mode 24), the last 4 to 9 complete (Parker 1936, Wake 1986).

Idiocranium russeli is morphologically similar to Herpele bornmulleri, but the former is distinguished by a visible eye, longer, less rounded snout, and shorter tentacles. The distance of nostril from eye is longer for I. russeli (Parker 1936).

In life, it is blue-grey above, lighter underneath. In preservation, it is greyish-brown to yellow-brown dorsally, and cream colored ventrally and around the eye, tentacles and nostrils (Parker 1936, Wake 1986).

Only 49 specimens collected were in 1936. Further morphological work was conducted on 48 specimens of those specimens. Further taxonomic work is required to determine whether or not the specimens from the two known localities refer to the same species (Parker 1936, Wake 1986, Loader and Wilkinson 2004)

The species authority is Parker, H. W. "The Amphibians of the Mamfe Division, Cameroons.–I. Zoogeography and Systematics." Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. Vol. 106. No. 1. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 1936.

The Greek origins of Idiocranium means unique skull with idio- meaning "one's own, personal, distinct" and kranion meaning "skull, upper part of the head."


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