Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Amphisbaena alba

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Kingdom  Animalia
Class  Reptilia
Family  Amphisbaenidae
Scientific name  Amphisbaena alba
Phylum  Chordata
Order  Squamata
Genus  Amphisbaena
Rank  Species
Amphisbaena alba Amphisbaena alba The large quotwhitequot worm lizard is rarely f Flickr
Similar  Amphisbaena, Amphisbaenidae, Amphisbaenia, Amphisbaena fuliginosa, Leposternon

One weird reptile amphisbaena alba

Amphisbaena alba, also known as the red worm lizard or less commonly as the white or white-bellied worm lizard, is a species of amphisbaenian in the reptilian order Squamata. Despite the large geographic range that this species covers, little is known about its ecology due to its secretive habits. A. alba has a diverse diet ranging from plant material to small vertebrates. Numerically, beetles, ants, and spiders compose the majority of their diet; however, ants, insect larvae, and beetles are ingested to satisfy a larger volume.


Amphisbaena alba Amphisbaena alba Renato Gaiga Flickr

Locomo o de amphisbaena alba

Geographic range

Amphisbaena alba CalPhotos Amphisbaena alba Red Worm Lizard

It occurs in South America from eastern Venezuela and Trinidad through the entire Amazon Basin to northern Argentina. A. alba has the largest geographic range of all the amphisbaenians.


Amphisbaena alba Amphisbaena alba Ira Fagner Delfim Flickr

Reproduction for this species occurs in the dry season of its geographical area. Some evidence suggests that this species exploits the living space of the leaf-cutting ant and may even use the nests of these ants to deposit its eggs. A. alba lays the greatest number of eggs at a time (8–16) in comparison to other amphisbaenians, which is possibly due to its large body size. There is no sexual dimorphism in regard to snout-vent length, meristic, or morphometric characters for A. alba most likely due to functional constraints related to their burrowing nature.

Amphisbaena alba Amphisbaena alba The Reptile Database

The ultrastructure of epididymal spermatozoa has been studied for A. alba. Mature spermatozoa are filiform and are characterized by features such as a depression in the transverse section of the acrosome, a moderately long midpiece, columnar mitochondria, an elongated nucleus, and a fibrous sheath in the midpiece.

Amphisbaena alba httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

Epidermal glands are located in the cloacal region of A. alba and are most likely used for reproduction and marking territory. The openings of the glands are plugged with a solid, holocrine secretion that is removed when it moves through tunnels and leaves a secretion trail.

Erythrocyte characteristics

The stages of ultrastructural changes of organelles in developing erythroid cells are similar to the developmental changes in other vertebrate groups. The greatest difference is the periodical transverse alignment of hemoglobin molecules in the organelle matrix of the hemosomes. The transformation of the erythroid cell organelles for hemoglobin biosynthesis occurs slowly. This is due to the low metabolic rate of A. alba which is a result of the hypoxic environment where it lives.

Defensive tactics

When A. alba assumes a defensive posture it bends its body into the shape of a horseshoe and raises both the head and the tail. The tail is made of tough collagen bundles that allows the tail to absorb mechanical pressure from a bite. The body of A. alba is also covered with a flexible armor which makes other areas resistant to bites as well.


Amphisbaena alba Wikipedia