Self and conspecific dermatophagy in the aquatic salamander amphiuma tridactylum
Dermatophagy, the practice of eating shed skin, in amphibians and reptiles has been reported anecdotally in the literature, but the process and purpose remains poorly understood. We document a fortuitous observation of whole-skin shedding and conspecific dermatophagy in Amphiuma tridactylum (Three-toed Amphiuma), and report on 2 additional observations of self-dermatophagy. Shed skins are potential protein and nutrient sources, and we suggest that dermatophagy may be a much more common occurrence than originally thought.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Fontenot, C., & Pojman, J. (2016). Self and conspecific dermatophagy in the aquatic salamander amphiuma tridactylum. Southeastern Naturalist, 15 (3), N40-N43. https://doi.org/10.1656/058.015.0312