Very few of the 180 or so caecilian species are easily exhibited in zoos or aquariums, as most live underground. This South American species is an exception, living in water instead. It has been bred in captivity, including the DWA, giving birth to live young. Confined to parts of the Old and Near World Tropics, caecilians compose one of the three orders of amphibians (the other two being frogs and toads, and salamanders). They are the only living amphibians with scales, but these are hidden beneath their skin.
The Mayans and Aztecs demanded rare tribute from their subject peoples. The feathers of quetzals were prized more than gold. The five species of quetzals are specialized trogons, found from Mexico south to Bolivia and Brazil. The three species that are part of the collection at the DWA are: Golden-headed quetzal (Pharomachrus auriceps), Crested quetzal (Pharomachrus antisianus) and the Resplendent quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno). All are green and red, but only the Resplendent quetzal, of Mexico and Central America, bears the prized long plumes.