Two-toed Amphiuma, Amphiuma means

The Two-toed amphiuma (Amphiuma means) is a salamander species and a member of the Amphiumidae family. The species is native to the southeastern United States, commonly ranging from the coastal plains of Virginia, Florida and eastern Louisiana.

The Two-toed amphiuma inhabits acidic waters, commonly ponds, swamps, sloughs and bayous. The species is fully aquatic all the way through to adulthood, except during nesting. A partial metamorphosis occurs bringing it out of its larval stage and the salamander develops lungs, however one pair of its gills remains.

Often the Two-toed amphiuma is referred to as the Congo eel or the Lamper eel due to its long, slimy appearance and slick bluish-black coloration. The salamander varies in size, but can exceed lengths common to most species of amphibians. Sizes range between 13.4 to 45.7 inches. The Two-toed amphiuma has four legs that are primarily nonfunctional and its 2-toed feet are implied in its common name.

A typical diet consists of vertebrae and invertebrate prey. The Two-toed salamander is an opportunistic feeder and will hunt and eat anything it is capable of.  A powerful bite may sometimes not prove to be enough and the species has been observed using constriction to subdue its prey.

The Two-toed amphiuma is a nocturnal creature. Most of its time is spent burrowing in holes that can reach up to 3.5 feet deep.

Breeding takes place in the springtime. Between 150 and 200 eggs are laid and this would be one of the rare times the Two-toed amphiuma moves from the water to land. Typically the female salamander remains on land to incubate its eggs, which can take up to 5 months.

Image Caption: Two-toed amphiuma (Amphiuma means). Credit: Brian Gratwicke/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)