The Autokhthōn

“Autochtōn” is a word from Greek (auto-, auto- and khthōn, earth/soil) and in biology indicates an organism which is native to a particular area. That’s exactly the case of Blanus cinereus, which is autochton to the Iberian peninsula. Actually, it is an Iberian endemism, meaning that it lives only there. However, Blanus cinereus is literally a chtonian, no matter if you refer to the Chtonians, the ancient greek gods living in the underworld, like Hades and Thanatos, or to the other Chtonians, those worm-like burrowing creatures from the Chtulhu fictional universe. Whatever is your cultural reference (personally more Lovecraft than those laurel- wrath-heads…) Blanus cinereus lives underground.

They rarely show up over the ground and usually they can be found only searching under rocks in loose soil habitats. Even so, they could be mistaken for earthworms. Only upon closer inspection you would notice a pair of rudimentary eyes and a teeth-equipped mouth. That’s because they are Amphisbaenidae: reptiles. The family name Amphisbaenidae, by the way, refers to the amphisbaena, again a mythological creature, a snake with two heads, one at each end. Since many species of this family effectively have tails that look like their stout heads, I like to think that the amphisbaena have been named after the Amphisbaenidae, not the opposite. Maybe after a Blanus