Maternal Dermatophagy – Skin Eating Kids

By Anupum Pant

Firstly, these are amphibians. Not reptiles, nor are they worms or anything else. The young ones of these strange animals are even more stranger. For 100 million years, the young ones of these creatures have adopted a bizarre practice of eating their own mothers – eat their skin, actually.

The weird practice also has a name and is called der­matophagy, which translates to “skin-eating” in Greek. Or, Maternal dermatophagy, in this case where the mother’s skin is being eaten.

The most interesting part is that this actually works out well for these creatures. In fact the young ones also come with specialized set of teeth to accomplish this. The mother starts developing a nutritious fatty layer on her skin after laying eggs. So, the young ones come out hungry, use their specialized teeth to peel her skin off and eat it to start the development process.

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