Nature & Environment
Weird, limbless amphibians found in the US
By T.K. Randall
August 5, 2021 · 3 comments
These animals should not be in Florida. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 jenis patel
Scientists have discovered an ancient species of worm-like amphibian in Florida for the first time.
Typically native to Colombia and Venezuela, the Rio Cauca caecilian - or Typhlonectes natans
- grows up to around half a meter in length and resembles a large, limbless worm.
Believed to date back hundreds of millions of years, caecilians typically spend most of their time either underground or in freshwater and until now, had never been seen in the United States.
After one was caught in Florida in 2019 however, there have since been several other sightings.
"Very little is known about these animals in the wild, but there's nothing particularly dangerous about them, and they don't appear to be serious predators," said herpetologist Coleman Sheehy.
"They'll probably eat small animals and get eaten by larger ones. This could be just another non-native species in the South Florida mix."
It currently remains unclear how the creatures ended up in Florida, however considering the number of invasive species currently found in the state, it is perhaps not all that surprising.
According to Sheehy, the recently found specimen could be a pet that someone released into the wild.
"I didn't think we'd one day find a caecilian in Florida," he said.
"So, this was a huge surprise."
Source: Science Alert
| Comments (3)