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Checklist of Amphibian Species and Identification Guide

Two-toed Amphiuma, Amphiuma means


Two-toed Amphiuma Two-toed Amphiuma

The Two-toed Amphiuma is a large, eel-like aquatic salamander that can reach maximum length up to 3 feet or more. All four limbs are present, but extremely tiny, and there are only two toes on each. They are black to dark brown with a dark gray belly. All Amphiumas undergo an incomplete metamorphosis (transformation from larva to adult), retaining one of the three gill slits and never developing eyelids. The number of twos distinguishes the three species of Amphiuma, but you have to catch one to be able to count them.

They can also be differentiated on the basis of coloration and body size. The Three-toed Amphiuma has a much lighter belly that contrats with the back and sides and the One-toed is uniformly colored. The latter species is also much smaller, rarely exceeding 12 inches in length. Two-toed Amphiumas are completely aquatic and can be found in all types of waters. They are predators and have large, sharp teeth — among North American herptiles only the Snapping Turtles (Chelydridae) have a worse bite! Females deposit 50-200 eggs under large objects like rocks and logs, in underground burrows or in depressions in the mud. They remain with the eggs, guarding them until they hatch 5-6 months later (see photo to the right above). Hatchlings are just over 2 inches and already have all 4 limbs.

Two-toed Amphiuma

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