Other Amphibian of the Week

Three Toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma tridactylum)

Three Toed Amphiuma
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.

Three Toed Amphiuma
photo by Peter Paplanus

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.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Three Toed Amphiuma as Least Concern for Extinction. They have a wide range, large population, and are able to tolerate some habitat modification.

3 thoughts on “Three Toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma tridactylum)”

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