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The "shyest" worm lizard in the world was spotted for the first time in 90 years. Photo

Daria DurovaNews
A photo of the Somali amphisbaena spicules
A photo of a Somali amphisbaena spiny-nosed snake

In Somalia, for the first time in 90 years, a rare species of Ancylocranium somalicum parkeri, the Somali sharp-snouted worm lizard, was spotted. The "worm lizard" was last seen in the early 1930s.

This unusual reptile was photographed by Mark Spicer of the non-profit organization HALO Trust. IFLScience reports that the "shy" amphibian was discovered during demining in the self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland on the border with Ethiopia.

Somali sharp-snouted worm lizard

The Somali sharp-snouted worm lizard was first reported in 1931. Its subspecies was discovered on the territory of unrecognized Somaliland. A representative of Ancylocranium somalicum parkeri was found again in January this year.

Spicer told New Scientist magazine that his colleague Hassan Duali once called him "to show him something interesting."

"I followed him, we were both wearing PPE (personal protective equipment). He dug a little bit in the ground and showed me a worm lizard," Spicer recalled.

Tomáš Mazuch, a herpetologist at Mendel University in the Czech Republic, confirmed that the long, pink creature with two faces was a Somali sharp-snouted worm lizard.

Ancylocranium somalicum parkeri

"The images give you an idea of how bizarre these flesh-pink creatures look - although we'll refrain from making too harsh statements about their appearance lest they run away again," IFLScience joked.

This worm lizard from the group of legless lizards is about 20 centimeters long. Like worms, Ancylocranium somalicum parkeri are adapted to living underground: they have pointed snouts, smaller eyes, but enhanced hearing.

Worm lizards have been found in all tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, although this particular species has been recorded only in Somalia and Ethiopia.

Worm lizards are secretive, so many of their species and subspecies remain poorly understood.

Somalia on the map

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