Schistometopum thomense

Schistometopum thomense is a species of amphibian in the family Dermophiidae, endemic to São Tomé and Ilhéu das Rolas.[1] It is found in most soils on São Tomé, from tropical moist lowland forests to coastal coconut plantations. It is absent only from the driest northern areas of the island.[1] It is typically around 30 cm (12 in) in length, and is often bright yellow.[2] The size of S. thomense can vary throughout São Tomé, however, and it is the only known caecilian to follow Bergmann's rule, which states that a decreasing temperature due to factors such as increasing altitude will cause an increase in the body size of endothermic vertebrate species. The island of São Tomé is a massive shield volcano, and it therefore has differing altitudes throughout the island, potentially resulting in the size diversity of S. thomense. [3]This species may be referred to as the São Tomé caecilian (with various spellings of the island's name), as the Agua Ize caecilian, or as the island caecilian,[4] or by the local name of cobra bobo.[5]

Schistometopum thomense
Schistometopum thomense 96192876.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Gymnophiona
Clade: Apoda
Family: Dermophiidae
Genus: Schistometopum
S. thomense
Binomial name
Schistometopum thomense
(Bocage, 1873)


The species has been described under the following synonyms:[4]

  • Siphonops thomensis — Bocage, 1873
  • Siphonops brevirostris — Peters, 1874
  • Dermophis brevirostris — Peters 1880
  • Dermophis thomensis — Peters, 1880
  • Schistometopum thomense — Parker, 1941
  • Schistometopum ephele — Taylor, 1965
  • Schistometopum brevirostris — Taylor, 1965
  • Schistometopum brevirostre — Taylor, 1968


  1. ^ a b c IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (2020). "Schistometopum thomense". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T59592A16958403. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T59592A16958403.en. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  2. ^ Kingdon, Jonathan (1989). Island Africa: The Evolution of Africa's Rare Plants and Animals. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. pp. 39. ISBN 0-691-08560-9.
  3. ^ Measey, John; Van Dongen, Stefan (2006). "Bergmann's rule and the terrestrial caecilian Schistometopum thomense (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Caeciliidae)" (PDF). Evolutionary Ecology Research. 8: 1049–1059.
  4. ^ a b "Schistometopum thomense". Amphibian Species of the World 6.0, an Online Reference.
  5. ^ Species of the week: Cobra Bobo