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 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, "These worm-like amphibians may have venomous saliva," 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, "Salamanders and Frogs Light Up with Secret Superpower," 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, "Amphibians are able to glow in the dark — but scientists had no idea until now," 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, "So, Amphibians Glow. Humans Just Couldn't See It—Until Now," 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, "Newts and frogs light up like glow sticks under the right light," 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, "Caecilians," 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, "Bats regurgitate nectar for their babies—a new discovery," 12 July 2019 Learn even more about frogs, toads, caecilians, salamanders and newts! Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "Houston Zoo celebrates "Froguary"," 13 Feb. 2018

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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Time Traveler for caecilian

Time Traveler

The first known use of caecilian was in 1840

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Statistics for caecilian

Last Updated

10 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Caecilian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Aug. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on caecilian

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with caecilian Encyclopedia article about caecilian

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