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

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Other Words from caecilian

caecilian adjective

Examples of caecilian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web 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 Reproduction As amphibians, some caecilians lay their eggs in water or moist soil, similar to frog and salamander reproduction. Jason Bittel, National Geographic, 27 June 2019 Caecilian moms feed young their own skin In a few species of worm-like amphibians called caecilians, babies eat the fatty skin off their mom’s back. National Geographic, 12 July 2019

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.

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First Known Use of caecilian

1840, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for caecilian

ultimately from Latin caecilia slowworm, from caecus blind

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The first known use of caecilian was in 1840

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Cite this Entry

“Caecilian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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