Strange Worm-Like Animal Found In Florida Is Actually An Ancient Amphibian
A worm-like amphibious creature has been discovered in the Tamiami Canal in South Florida.
The strange noodle-shaped animal, which can live on water and land, was discovered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The authority found the creature roughly a mile south of Miami International Airport but initially couldn’t identify what it was.
After using DNA testing to identify the specimen, it turned out to be a caecilian, or Typhlonectes natans, an animal that has been around since before the dinosaurs.
In a post on Facebook, Coleman Sheehy, Florida Museum’s herpetology collection manager, discussed the rare finding:
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. 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.
Despite some mystery around the reclusive animal, there are facts that scientists typically use to identify them. However, there was some confusion around this particular discovery as the animal is typically found in southern Mexico, as well as parts of Africa and Southeast Asia.
Caecilians have a unique look and can range from a few inches to five feet long. Rather than use its poor eyesight, the animal has a pair of sensory tentacles located between its eyes and nostrils to help it find food.
A photo of the caecilian found in Florida was first sent to Sheehy in 2019, who was confused by the two-foot-long animal. However, after it died, further analysis revealed exactly what the team at FWC had uncovered, and there have since been more discoveries of the animal in Florida.
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