September 18, 2021

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We know our pets

Florida Biologists Seize Invasive Worm-Like Amphibian

When just one thinks of the term “amphibian,” what very likely comes to mind for most men and women is a frog or very similar creature. But officers with Florida Fish and Wildlife announced in late July 2021 that they had captured an invasive species of amphibian in southern Florida’s Tamiami Canal. Recognised as caecilians, these amphibians resemble oversized worms:

Some invasive species are damaging to their new environments, but professionals claimed that could possibly not be the lead to with caecilians.

“Very very little is identified about these animals in the wild, but there’s almost nothing particularly risky about them, and they don’t appear to be significant predators,” said Coleman Sheehy, herpetology collection supervisor, in a news release posted by the Florida Museum of Pure Historical past. “They’ll in all probability eat small animals and get eaten by larger ones. This could be just a further non-indigenous species in the South Florida mix.”

The museum explained Sheehy was to start with alerted that the creature may well be making an attempt to declare new digs in South Florida in 2019 when Florida wildlife officers, perplexed by the “two-foot-very long eel-like animal,”
despatched him a photograph of one particular netted in the canal. A DNA test exposed that it was a caecilian.

The animals’ purely natural habitat is tropical, and they inhabit southern Mexico, Southeast Asia, and tropical areas of Africa. Aside from the caecilians located in Florida not too long ago, none at this time live in the U.S., according to the museum. Sheehy identified as the discovery in Florida a “huge shock.”

Sheehy’s guess is that the animals in the Florida canal are escaped animals:

Typhlonectes natans is the most popular caecilian in the pet trade and will breed in captivity, offering delivery to reside young. Mainly because this species is frequently held in aquariums indoors and cannot very easily escape, Sheehy suspects an individual discarded their undesirable pets in the canal.

In its indigenous array, Typhlonectes natans lives in warm, gradual-shifting bodies of shallow h2o with aquatic vegetation.

“Parts of the C-4 Canal are just like that,” Sheehy stated. “This may well be an environment exactly where this species can thrive.”