One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A burrowing wormlike amphibian of a tropical order distinguished by poorly developed eyes and the lack of limbs.
Order Gymnophiona (or Apoda): five families
- ‘Some not-so-familiar creatures, like the legless, burrowing caecilians, are also amphibians.’
- ‘The oldest known frogs, salamanders and caecilians are very similar to their living descendants.’
- ‘While burrowing, caecilians employ concertina locomotion, lateral undulation, and vermiform locomotion.’
- ‘In contrast to frogs, caecilians have a radically elongated vertebral column, no limbs or girdles, and relatively elaborate hypaxial musculature.’
- ‘Although they are amphibians, caecilians are denizens of the terrestrial underworld.’
From modern Latin Caecilia (genus name), from Latin caecilia ‘slow-worm’, + -an.
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