September 18, 2021

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Invasive, wormlike amphibians found in Florida

A wormlike, invasive amphibian species was uncovered in South Florida, researchers noted this week.

A crew of scientists with the Florida Museum of Natural Background captured a person of the legless creatures in the wild after remaining alerted to their existence in the area. Biologists consider the unusual specimen, identified as caecilians, are indigenous to Colombia and Venezuela but someway discovered their way into the Tamiami Canal in Miami.

“Very very little is known about these animals in the wild, but there is practically nothing significantly unsafe about them, and they really do not surface to be critical predators,” reported Coleman Sheehy, the Florida museum’s herpetology selection manager.

Even though the creatures do search like snakes, they are aspect of an buy of amphibians entirely distinct from frogs, lizards, and newts.

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Sheehy was created aware of caecilians in the area when a Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee officer sent him a photograph of a person two many years ago. Given that then, his team at the museum has been performing to decide irrespective of whether the species is set up in South Florida.

“At this stage, we truly really don’t know plenty of to say regardless of whether caecilians are founded in the C-4 Canal,” he mentioned. “That’s what we want to come across out.”

Caecilians arrive in a wide variety of various types based on the region, with some known for burrowing in underground holes when other folks, these types of as Typhlonectes natans, occupy freshwater environments.

The freshwater caecilians are the most common form in the pet trade for breeding, according to the museum. Sheehy explained he suspects the creatures had been introduced to the wild when another person discarded their undesired pet in the canal.

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The amphibians can also be located in spots together with Africa and Southeast Asia. Researchers have uncovered fossilized continues to be of caecilian ancestors relationship back much more than 170 million decades.