Continent: Caribbean
Distribution: Puerto Rico, Isla Pineros, Isla Viques  
Type locality: Martinique; corrected by Stejneger, 1904, to Puerto Rico.
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Source: The Reptile Database


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Known prey organisms

Amphisbaena caeca preys on:

Based on studies in:
Puerto Rico, El Verde (Rainforest)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • Waide RB, Reagan WB (eds) (1996) The food web of a tropical rainforest. University of Chicago Press, Chicago
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Amphisbaena caeca

Amphisbaena caeca, commonly known as the Puerto Rican worm lizard (Spanish vernacular: culebrita ciega), is a species of worm lizard endemic to Puerto Rico. These animals are vermicular reptiles that live under logs, rocks, and dirt. Other species of Amphisbaenids in the Caribbean include Amphisbaena bakeri, Amphisbaena fenestrata, Amphisbaena schmidti, Amphisbaena xera, and Cadea blanoides.

Amphisbaenids are legless, worm-like reptiles with elongated bodies nearly uniform in diameter. They are covered with ring-like scales similar in appearance to earthworms. They are underground animals, hence the eyes have degenerated to tiny indistinct spots under the rings.


Amphisbaena caeca is pinkish-brown on the head and tail with many dark spots on the annuli (body rings) of which there are between 214 and 237 in this species. It measures 10 inches (260 millimeters) in snout to vent length (SVL). Because it is somewhat difficult to distinguish its head from its tail, it is sometimes referred to as a "two-headed snake" (in Puerto Rico culebra de dos cabezas) by local people. According to folklore, wearing a live Amphisbaena on the body "helps safeguard pregnancy" while wearing a dead snake "helps rheumatism".


They can be found burrowing in the ground under logs, rocks, old tree stumps, and under termite and ant nests.


They live in dense woodlands, thickets, and caves.

Geographic range[edit]

They are found in Puerto Rico, Isla Vieques, Isla Culebra, and the Virgin Islands.[1]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the Lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Second Edition. Volume II...Amphisbænidæ. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers.) xiii + 497 pp. + Plates I.- XXIV. (Amphisbæna cæca, pp. 445–446.)
  • Cuvier, G. 1829. Le Règne Animal Distribué, d'après son Organisation, pour servir de base à l'Histoire naturelle des Animaux et d'Introduction à l'Anatomie Comparé. Avec Figures desinées, d'après Nature. Nouvelle Édition, Revue et Augmentée. Tome II. [Reptiles] Paris: Déterville. xv + 406 pp. (Amphisbæna caeca, p. 73.)
  • Rivero, J.A. 1978. Los Anfibios y Reptiles de Puerto Rico: The Amphibians and Reptiles of Puerto Rico. San Juan: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. 375 pp. ISBN 0847723178.
  • Schwartz, A., and R. Thomas. 1975. A Check-list of West Indian Amphibians and Reptiles. Special Publication No. 1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Carnegie Museum of Natural History. 216 pp. (Amphisbaena caeca, p. 166.)
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