A clutch of eggs in a muddy nest is buried treasure to a research team that spent five years digging for caecilians in over 250 spots across northern India.
Hunting the elusive animals involves lots of shovel work, explained S. D. Biju, whose team included scientists from the University of Delhi, the U.K. Natural History Museum, and Belgium's Vrije University.
"Because of their burrowing nature and cryptic appearance, they are very difficult to see above the soil," he said.
A total of more than 2,000 hours spent digging beneath tropical undergrowth produced about six suspected new species, three of which have now been confirmed, Biju added.
(Also see "Evolution in Action: Lizards Moving From Eggs to Live Birth.")