Typhlonectidae – Aquatic caecilians

Native to South America east Andes, these viviparous amphibians are also named rubber eels

Also known as aquatic caecilians, these unique creatures can be found in various parts of the world and have evolved to thrive in aquatic environments.

One of the notable features of Typhlonectidae is their specialized diet. These caecilians primarily feed on earthworms and other soft-bodied prey. They have developed a remarkable way to locate their food using chemosensory tentacles located on each side of their head. These tentacles are highly sensitive to chemical cues in the environment, helping them detect and track down their prey. Once they’ve located their meal, they employ powerful recurved teeth to capture it. Afterward, they engage in a process of chewing, breaking down their prey into smaller pieces before swallowing it.

Unlike some other caecilians that burrow underground, typhlonectids are adapted to an aquatic lifestyle. They spend their days in rivers and streams or even burrowed under the substrate of aquatic environments. Their unique adaptations reflect their specialized habitat, where the need for vision and hearing is reduced. Consequently, many typhlonectids have tiny eyes, and some even have eyes covered with skin, appearing as mere bumps on their head.

In terms of diet, aquatic caecilians take advantage of their aquatic surroundings. They prey on fishes, eels, and aquatic invertebrates. Their ability to thrive in aquatic ecosystems and efficiently capture aquatic prey demonstrates their remarkable environmental adaptation.