Episode 44: Her Majesty’s Caecilian Collector

Episode 44: Her Majesty’s Caecilian Collector


Oscaecilia ochrocephala [CC BY-NC 2.0], via Flickr.
Oscaecilia ochrocephala. Brian Gratwicke [CC BY-NC 2.0], via Flickr.
Life can take us in unexpected directions. A lack of bird identification skills, a voracious appetite for books and an unlikely encounter with a strange animal in a petshop led today’s guest to study a little known group of amphibians called caecilians, or naked snakes. Dr Mark Wilkinson of the Natural History Museum (London) was recently in Glasgow to deliver the Glasgow Natural History Society’s annual Blodwen Lloyd Bins Lecture, titled “The Modern Natural History of Naked Snakes”.

We caught up with the self-professed Majesty’s Caecilian Collector and former University of Glasgow lecturer to relive the highlights of a life studying caecilians. Listen to find out all about these unusual and enigmatic animals, from unique aspects of their biology to the people who study them.

You can see footage of caecilians displaying a unique parental care behaviour below. Mark helped collect this footage in Brazil for the BBC Life in Cold Blood documentary series.

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Intro and outro music sampled from: “The Curtain Rises” and “Early RiserKevin MacLeod [CC BY 3.0]

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