caecilian

noun
cae·​ci·​lian | \ si-ˈsil-yən How to pronounce caecilian (audio) , -ˈsēl-, -ˈsi-lē-ən \

Definition of caecilian

: any of an order (Gymnophiona) of chiefly tropical burrowing limbless amphibians resembling worms

Other Words from caecilian

caecilian adjective

Examples of caecilian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The caecilian is native to Colombia and Venezuela although it has been found in tropical Africa and southeast Asia. Chris Perkins, sun-sentinel.com, 30 July 2021 The species that was found in Miami is a Rio Cauca caecilian, or Typhlonectes natans, a native of Colombia and Venezuela that inhabits fresh water. Tiffini Theisen, orlandosentinel.com, 28 July 2021 Some are just a few inches long, but the giant caecilian of Colombia (Caecilia thompsoni) can reach lengths of up to five feet, reports Jason Bittel for National Geographic. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 July 2020 On the other end, caecilian tails have glands that produce poison, presumably to discourage predators from chasing them through their subterranean highways. Jason Bittel, National Geographic, 3 July 2020 And Typhlonectes natans, a plain brown caecilian that looks something like an earthworm on steroids, takes on a greenish-yellow glow. Stephanie Pappas, Scientific American, 27 Feb. 2020 For example, the Rio Cauca caecilian — a gray, limbless aquatic amphibian — glowed bright green under the blue lights. Sophie Lewis, CBS News, 27 Feb. 2020 For salamanders and caecilians—weird little limbless amphibians that look like worms and eat their mother’s skin—the point of looking extra hot might be, well, reproduction. Matt Simon, Wired, 27 Feb. 2020 In the new study, scientists placed specimens from 32 species—including salamanders, frogs, and limbless, wormlike amphibians known as caecilians—onto a dark background and shone a blue or ultraviolet light on them. Rodrigo Pérez Ortega, Science | AAAS, 27 Feb. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caecilian.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of caecilian

1840, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for caecilian

ultimately from Latin caecilia slowworm, from caecus blind

Learn More About caecilian

Time Traveler for caecilian

Time Traveler

The first known use of caecilian was in 1840

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near caecilian

Caecidae

caecilian

Caeciliidae

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for caecilian

Cite this Entry

“Caecilian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/caecilian. Accessed 25 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on caecilian

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about caecilian

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!