Baby Caecilians Make A Meal Out Of Mom

Caecilians are legless amphibians that spend most of their lives underground. Some give birth to live young, whereas others lay eggs. When certain species of caecilians hatch, they eat via maternal dermatophagy-peeling off and consuming their mother's outer layer of skin. The skin is rich in nutrients and causes the larvae to grow rapidly. The mother, meanwhile, isn't injured, and regrows her skin every three days.

Why Do These Babies Eat Their Mother's Skin?

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Caecilians look like snakes or earthworms, but are actually amphibians. 00:24

  2. Certain species of egg-laying caecilians eat their mother's skin upon hatching. 01:07

  3. Some caecilians have specialized teeth that allow them to eat the lining of their mother's womb. 01:48

Written by Curiosity Staff July 27, 2015