Other Amphibian of the Week

Three Toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma tridactylum)

photo by opencage

Common Name: Three Toed Amphiuma
Scientific Name: Amphiuma tridactylum
Family: Amphiumidae
Location: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas
Size: 18-30 inches (45.7 – 76 cm), record length 42 inches (1.06 m)

The Three Toed Amphiuma is a weird salamander found in the southeastern United States. Amphiumas have long, elongated bodies that appear eel-like. They have tiny little feet in the front and back. The three different species of Amphiumas can be identified by the number of toes on their foot.

They are almost entirely aquatic, only leaving water after heavy storms. They live in permanent bodies of water such as swamps, ponds, and lakes. Amphiumas are rarely seen since they hide in burrows during the day and are only active during the night. During the night, they eat just about any animal in the water including fish, earthworms, and crustaceans.

Mating season for the Three Toed Amphiuma is in winter and spring. Fertilization for the species is internal, which is different than the other amphiuma species. The female lays around 200 eggs under logs or other objects in the mud. She stays with them and protects them until they hatch.

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