Scientists from Brazil and the United States studied the arrangement of annelids and found poison in them. This is the only case when poisonous glands are found in the body of amphibians.
Ringed worms are a group of tailless serpentine amphibians that are easily mistaken for snakes. They live inland and streams, making them the least studied amphibians. Scientists have discovered in them specialized glands along the teeth. They are of the same biological origin as the poisonous glands of snakes. If further research can confirm that the glands contain poison, they will become the oldest animals with toxic glands in the oral cavity.
Worms almost do not see and use tentacles to move through underground tunnels. The new theory of scientists is that these animals produce two types of mucus – one of them is poisonous, and the second helps to move. “Since worms are one of the least studied vertebrates, their device is a black box full of surprises,” they added.
We are used to believe that amphibians – frogs, toads, and others – are absolutely harmless to humans. Only in some of them, the skin glands produce poison to scare away predators. Therefore, having learned that amphibians can inflict poisonous bites, we were very surprised.
Professor of the University of Utah (USA) Edmund Brody
A preliminary chemical analysis of the glands revealed a high activity of phospholipase A2, a common protein found in the toxins of poisonous animals, it is also found in bees and wasps. But the biological activity of phospholipase A2 in worms was higher than that of some rattlesnakes.
In addition, the researchers were able to find out that they carry their offspring inside the womb, and also lead a very secretive lifestyle. However, scientists from the United States and Brazil will continue to research them to learn more about device and lifestyle.