Legless Worm-Like Creature Discovered In Florida Identified As An Ancient Amphibian

Scientists have identified the legless worm-like creature that was discovered in the Tamiami Canal in South Florida. Surprisingly, it’s not a native animal.

According to the Florida Museum, they were able to use DNA from the species to identiy it as an anicent amphibian known as a Rio Cauca caecilian (Typhlonectes natans).

The species is native to Colombia and Venezuela, and experts are still unsure how it made its way to Florida.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The museum shared the discovery on Facebook, stating:

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“[Caecilians] are legless amphibians that resemble worms or snakes, and there are no species native to Florida. Our scientists used DNA to verify the species of caecilian MyFWC Florida Fish and Wildlife officers found in South Florida recently.”

Photo: flickr/Eden, Janine and Jim

The post continued to explain how there’s not much known about the interesting-looking creatures:

“‘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 Coleman Sheehy, our herpetology collection manager. ‘They’ll probably eat small animals and get eaten by larger ones.'”

Caecilians in South Florida? ⁉️ Caecilians – pronounced like “Sicilians” – are legless amphibians that resemble worms or…

Posted by Florida Museum of Natural History on Wednesday, July 28, 2021

According to the Virginia Zoo, Typhlonectes natans are typically found in open freshwater environments in the country of Colombia. Their adult size varies dramatically, ranging from 4.5 inches to 5 feet in length!

While not much else is known about this elusive species, they do know that it’s the only amphibian to have tentacles. It’ll be interesting to see how its newly discovered populations in Florida impact the local environment and ecology.

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