Yet another non-native appears to be settling into South Florida ecosystem. There are reports of a very strange, ‘noodle-shaped amphibian’ known as “caecilians” (pronounced “Sicilians”) having been found in the Tamiami Canal. South Florida appears to be the area in the United States where this animal has been documented, according to a new report from the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville and as reported in the Miami Herald. It was reported by the Miami Herald that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers recently came upon this specimen about a mile south of Miami International Airport. According to the Herald, The aquatic, limbless, worm-like animals belong to an ancient order of amphibians that has been around since even before the dinosaurs.
Information below is taken from Florida Museum online, Weird, noodle-shaped amphibians known as caecilians found in South Florida canal, by Natalie van Hoose, July 28, 2021:
Caecilians have arrived in Miami. Florida Fish and Wildlife biologists captured one of the obscure legless amphibians in the Tamiami Canal, the first example of an introduced caecilian in the U.S.
Florida Museum of Natural History scientists used DNA testing to identify the specimen as the Rio Cauca caecilian, Typhlonectes natans, a native of Colombia and Venezuela. While caecilians – pronounced like “Sicilians” – hunt and scavenge various kinds of small animals, museum experts say it’s too early to predict their potential impact on the local ecosystem.
“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, Florida Museum’s herpetology collection manager. “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.”
Editor's comment: Regardless of its impact, I am sure it is another non-native that we can do without.
I invite you to read the entire article. Links provided above and below.
The Miami Herald has also covered this discovery, article available to Miami Herald subscribers (paywall): Welcome to Miami? A weird-looking, noodle-shaped animal was just found in a canal, by Madeleine Marr, JULY 28, 2021
|Photo credit – photo from the Florida Museum article only, original credit, “photo courtesy of Noah Mueller”|