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Two-Toed Amphiuma

Fact File

Scientific Name: Amphiuma means

Classification: Amphibian

Size: Up to 45 inches

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

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.

Did You Know?

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

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.

Conservation

Species appears to be secure in Virginia.

Last updated: February 22, 2021