A sort of fanged ‘worm’ that looks like something from a horror movie is the first known amphibian with poisonous glands, scientists say.
American and Brazilian biologists found oral glands in ringed caecilians – snake-like amphibians related to frogs and salamanders that can grow up to 17 centimeters in length.
Researchers already knew that caecilians have poisonous tails and release a mucous lubricant that allows them to quickly dive underground to escape predators.
But they have now found small fluid-filled oral glands in the upper and lower jaw of the ringed caecilians discovered in Brazil to take out its prey.
Despite having no limbs and only a mouth to hunt, caecilians activate the oral glands when biting worms, termites, frogs and lizards.
The glands at the base of its sharp teeth, shaped like inverted spoons, produce enzymes often found in venom, including rattlesnake venom.