Just as baby mammals depend on their mothers milk, the young of the African amphibian Boulengerula taitanus nourish themselves by stripping off and eating the fat-rich outer layer of their mothers skin, according to an international team of researchers that includes University of Michigan biologist Ronald Nussbaum.
The findings are reported in today s issue (April 13) of the journal Nature.
Hatchlings of B. taitanus—a legless amphibian that looks something like an earthworm—are born with specialized teeth for peeling and eating skin. Their mothers skin is specially modified to be particularly nutritious, and the young depend entirely on this food source for perhaps as long as four weeks, Nussbaum said.
Nancy Ross-Flanigan | EurekAlert!
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