White Worm Lizard facts and data. Know White Worm Lizard eating regimen, habitat, behaviour taxonomy, and so forth See fascinating facts of White Worm Lizard in our animal facts archive.
Scientific title: Amphisbaena alba
What does it seem like? Amongst amphisbaenians, the white worm lizard is without doubt one of the largest species reaching a size of roughly 72 cm. The animal is usually yellowish-white, though an excessive amount of variation in shade exists.
Where does it stay? This species has a large distribution across central and northern South America and happens on some islands within the Caribbean, reminiscent of Trinidad. It is discovered each in forested (e.g., Amazon rain forest) and open (e.g., Cerrado of Brazil and Llanos of Venezuela) areas and is usually related to leaf-cutter ants.
The white worm lizard spends nearly all of its time beneath floor and on the island of Trinidad, they've often been discovered within the deep galleries of leaf-cutter ant nests, significantly the rubbish tips, the place the ants deposit their waste and their lifeless.
What are the reptiles doing in these subterranean garbage tips? They are in search of food. This reptile appears to be significantly partial to the larvae of a big beetle (Coelosis biloba), which feeds on waste and detritus within the ant’s garbage pile secure from most predators, however the worm lizard with its lengthy, skinny physique and tunneling talents can simply discover these plump grubs.
The relationship between the worm lizard and beetle additionally includes a small parasitic crustacean, generally known as a tongue worm. These stay within the respiratory tract of the worm lizard, its definitive host. To infect the reptile it should use one other animal, the intermediate host, on this case the beetle grub. The tongue worm’s eggs are discovered within the feces of the worm lizard, which the beetle grub inadvertently ingests.
The worm lizard then devours the contaminated beetle larva reinfecting itself with the tongue worm parasite and the cycle is full! The white worm lizard is a big animal, so earlier than lengthy it could exhaust the availability of beetle larvae in a single leaf-cutter ant nest and have to seek for extra larvae in different nests. To do that it leaves its acquainted subterranean habitat and heads for the floor. Due to its fossorial nature, the animal’s eyesight is sort of nonexistent, so it should make use of an alternate sense to discover one other ant nest. It makes use of its acute sense of scent to detect the pheromone trails left by employee leafcutter ants as they forage alongside the forest flooring.
These trails are markers for his or her nest mates to comply with and they point out the way in which again to the nest. The reptile finds and follows one in every of these trails to its supply. It enters the nest and makes for one in every of refuse tips deep underground to proceed its seek for the fats beetle grubs.
Approximately 140 species of worm lizards are recognized, distributed across tropical and subtropical areas of the globe. Consequently, most are within the southern hemisphere. A single species happens within the United States and just one happens in Europe. They vary in dimension from 9–12 cm to the 70 cm white worm lizard and they're all beautifully tailored to a fossorial lifestyle, not often venturing to the floor, though rainfall and ﬂooding will power one in every of these animals from its burrow. Due to their secretive lifestyle, little or no is thought about them. It is probably going that many extra species stay to be found.
The physique of the worm lizard shows various wonderful options, a few of that are diversifications to a subterranean way of life. As in different, fossorial animals, lots of the bones of the cranium are fused, making it significantly robust for ramming a tunnel via the soil. Some species have a spade formed head for compacting tunnel partitions by shifting their head up and down, whereas others have a keel formed head used to compact their tunnels with a side-to-side movement. Many species have a bullet formed head used to forge a tunnel via the soil. Also, the pores and skin of a worm lizard could be very loosely hooked up to its physique, enabling the animal to ‘slide’ via its integument. This helps the worm lizard transfer backward simply in addition to it may transfer forwards, which is necessary within the confines of a tunnel.
The Latin title Amphisbaena means to “move in both ways” reﬂ ecting the animal’s capacity to transfer ahead and backward equally effectively. Also, the time period amphisbaena is used to describe a venomous creature of delusion and legend, mentioned to have a head at each ends of its physique. Interestingly, when a worm lizard is on the floor and finds itself threatened it would increase each ends of its physique towards the sky. This defensive posture confuses the predator as to which is the actual head. The head finish with its highly effective jaws is able to inﬂicting a strong and painful chunk.
The overwhelming majority of worm lizards are fully legless. However, one peculiar group has retained its entrance legs, that are robust and molelike, an apparent adaptation for burrowing.
The benign look of the worm lizard belies its voracious, predatory methods. They will eat any animal they discover of their tunnels and will even make forays to the floor to forage for appropriate prey. Their dentition is exclusive, with two massive enamel within the higher jaw and one within the decrease jaw, meshing collectively to type an eff ective pair of pincers.
The reproductive habits of worm lizards, like many different elements of their lives, are very poorly recognized, however some species lay eggs, whereas others give beginning to stay younger. The white worm lizard lays 8–16 eggs, primarily in the course of the tropical dry season. Nothing is thought of their inhabitants densities as they're so tough to discover. The worm lizards are, no doubt, among the many most enigmatic land animals.