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Two-toed Amphiuma
Scientific classification

Gray, 1825 [1]

Garden, 1821

Amphiuma means
Amphiuma pholeter
Amphiuma tridactylum

Amphiuma is a genus of aquatic salamanders. They are the only genus still living in the family Amphiumidae. They are sometimes called "conger eels" or "congo snakes", which is not correct. Amphiumas have one of the largest amounts of DNA in the living world, around 25 times more than a human.[2]

Description[change | change source]

Amphiumas have a long body. They are generally grey-black in color. They do have legs but they are very small. Amphiumas can be up to 116 cm (46 in) long, their legs are only up to about 2 cm (0.79 in). It is because of this that they are often mistaken for eels or snakes. They also do not have eyelids or a tongue.[3]

Female amphiumas lay their eggs in wet mud. They then stay coiled around them for about five months, until they hatch. The larvae have external gills. After about four months these external gills disappear and the lungs begin to work.

Distribution[change | change source]

Amphiumas live in the southeastern part of the United States.

In the past they have lived in more areas. Fossils from the Pleistocene time show that they once lived in Europe.

Behavior[change | change source]

During the day amphiumas hide in plants. At night they become active and go hunting. Their prey include frogs, snakes, fish, crustaceans, insects and even other amphiumas. Hunting and eating habits are similar to that of the Axolotl. They suck food into their stomachs with vacuum force. They can become aggressive.

Species[change | change source]

There are three amphiuma species. They are different because of the number of toes:

References[change | change source]

  1. J. Alan Holman (2006). Fossil Salamanders of North America. Life of the past. Indiana University Press. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-253-34732-9.
  2. "Junk DNA and the Onion Test" 1 June 2008.
  3. Lanza, B., Vanni, S., & Nistri A. (1998). Cogger, H.G. & Zweifel, R.G. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 72. ISBN 0-12-178560-2.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

Other websites[change | change source]