General, Research, Technology

Who are worms and are they dangerous to humans?

There are a lot of people living on our planet.animals, so many of us are not even aware of the existence of some of them. Did you know that there are creatures in the world that simultaneously look like slippery worms and poisonous snakes? They are called worms (Caeciliidae) and live in the soils of the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and America. Since they lead an underground lifestyle, scientists know very little about them, but research is ongoing. For example, recently, biologists from Brazil managed to find out that there are many poisonous teeth in the mouth of worms. There is an assumption that these creatures are the only amphibians that secrete poison not only in the skin, but in the teeth. So what is it, if you dig up these creatures and touch, a person dies?

Worms look pretty weird, don't they?

Fancy animals

About the unusual inhabitants of tropical lands wasnarrated in the science journal Science Direct. As mentioned, usually these creatures live in the soil, but sometimes they can be found in the crumbling dry mass of trees and anthills. The body length of the worms can reach 117 centimeters - the so-called gigantic worms (Caecilia thompsoni) can grow to such sizes. They have no legs, and overall they really look like a mixture of snakes and worms. The skin is completely bare and covered with glands that secrete mucus.

Gigantic Worm

Due to this mucus, they are little dependent on the availability ofnearby water. Many other amphibians lay eggs in the water, and worms can lay right in the soil. To moisten the masonry, they simply cover it with a thick layer of mucous liquid. In the first days of their life, larvae breathe with the help of gills, but then they disappear. The eyes of the worms are located under the skin, but from them there is practically no sense. Therefore, evolution has endowed these creatures with a good sense of smell and a sense of touch. Yes, they are blind, but they can still instantly feel the danger.

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Poisonous teeth of worms

Many animals prey on worms - for example,they can certainly feast on some types of spiders. To protect against enemies, they use the poison secreted by the glands on the skin. However, according to Brazilian scientists, worms secrete toxic substances not only through the skin. In their mouths are two rows of tiny teeth that are connected to a multitude of tiny poisonous glands. How dangerous is this poison, scientists have yet to find out. But in its composition they have already found protein phospholipase A2, which is found in the venom of some bees, wasps and snakes.

This is what a worm’s head looks like. I would not want such a creature to bite my hand

If the teeth of the worms are really poisonous, then theycan be considered the only amphibians with life-threatening bites. In addition, they can be given the title of the most ancient vertebrate creatures with poisonous teeth. The fact is that poisonous snakes appeared on our planet about 100 million years ago. But these worm-like creatures crawled in the bowels of our planet as much as 250 million years ago. At least the remains testify to this.

Worm teeth

It is important to note that there is no between snakes and wormsnothing in common. These unusual creatures developed on their own, and the appearance of poisonous teeth is a clear gift of evolution. the fact is that creatures without any limbs cannot catch up with the victim. Therefore, it is important for them to kill prey even with one bite. Most likely, worm venom is dangerous for small insects, but harmless to humans. But, at the moment, this is just speculation, and scientists need to conduct a more thorough study of the toxic mixture in the teeth of these creatures.

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Not everyone knows about the existence of wormspeople, but readers of our site could learn about them from material on a project to save 66,000 species of animals. In 2018, representatives of more than 50 institutes came together to collect genetic data from 66,000 animal species on our planet. It is believed that with the help of the collected "library", humanity will be able to restore animal populations in the event of any global problem. The project is worthy of attention, so I recommend that you familiarize yourself with the ideas of its creators - good, the author of Ilya Hel explained everything in detail.