• Amphiuma species are named for the number of toes on each foot.

  • You can sometimes see Amphiumas move on land, especially during rainy nights.

  • Mud Snakes (Farancia abacura) regularly eat Amphiumas. 

  • Amphiumas may whistle if bothered.

  • Amphiumas have a lateral line system along the sides of their body used to sense vibrations in the water. 

Two-toed Amphiuma  &

(Amphiuma means)


The Amphiuma family (Amphiumidae​)

includes the longest salamanders in

North America. These salamanders,

found only in the United States, are

shaped like eels with four teeny,

underdeveloped legs. Their shape has

inspired nicknames like congo (conger) eel or congo snake. The three species in the family are named for the number of toes on each foot. The One-toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma pholeter​) is the smallest member of the family and reaches maximum lengths of about a foot (30 cm). Encounters with One-toed Amphiumas are rare because this species lives in the muck of streams and ponds in Southern Georgia and the Florida panhandle. Because of this, we know very little about this species. The other two species, which are very similar ecologically and genetically, get much larger.

Photo Credit: Anna Deyle

The Two-toed Amphiuma is the largest salamander by length in North America and the third longest in the world. It reaches sizes just shy of 4 feet (116 cm). Coming in at a maximum length of 3.5 feet (106 cm) is the Three-toed Amphiuma. Both species are found in a variety of aquatic habitats in the Coastal Plain of the Southeast such as wetlands, ponds, ditches, and slow streams. Two-toed Amphiumas range from Virginia down to Florida, and west to Louisiana. Three-toed Amphiumas are found in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, and Texas. Amphiumas burrow in mud, and are able to survive in burrows during droughts. Females care for eggs, keeping them moist when waters recede. Hatchlings have external gills, which are lost within weeks. Crayfish are a large portion of the Amphiuma diet, but they will eat many kinds of invertebrate and vertaberate prey, even turtles! Amphiumas are capable of giving a nasty bite. These two species are believed to be locally common although little is known about many populations.

Photo Credit: Anna Deyle

Fun Facts

Three-toed Amphiuma

(Amphiuma tridactylum)

Photo Credit: Ariel Horner