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Two-Toed Amphiuma

Fact File

Scientific Name: Amphiuma means

Classification: Amphibian

Size: Up to 45 inches

Identifying Characteristics

This eel-like salamander is also commonly referred to as a “ditch eel” and is North America’s longest salamander. It has a single gill slit on each side of the head. They have two pairs of tiny legs each with two toes. The body is uniform dark gray to brown and the belly is light gray that extends onto the sides. Juveniles have the same uniform color as adults.


Two-toed Amphiumas primarily occur in the Coastal Plain region of the state where they inhabit ponds, ditches, slow-moving streams, and swamps.

Did You Know?

Amphiumas are extremely slippery and can inflict a painful bite when handled, leaving a serious lacera

Role in the Web of Life

Amphiumas are fully aquatic, but may move short distances overland in heavy rains. Females lay 20–200 eggs in winter and spring under logs and in debris, then remain coiled around them as they develop. Eggs hatch in 5–6 months; the larval stage lasts about a month. Predators include mudsnakes, cottonmouths, kingsnakes, watersnakes, wading birds, and otters.


Species appears to be secure in Virginia.

Last updated: January 19, 2024

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Species Profile Database serves as a repository of information for Virginia’s fish and wildlife species. The database is managed and curated by the Wildlife Information and Environmental Services (WIES) program. Species profile data, distribution information, and photography is generated by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, State and Federal agencies, Collection Permittees, and other trusted partners. This product is not suitable for legal, engineering, or surveying use. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources does not accept responsibility for any missing data, inaccuracies, or other errors which may exist. In accordance with the terms of service for this product, you agree to this disclaimer.