One-toed Amphiuma, Conger Eel, Congo Eel, Congo Snake, Lamprey Eel, Ditch Eel, Fish Eel
© 2016 Dr. Joachim Nerz (1 of 6)
The dorsum and venter are dark grayish or grayish brown and the venter is only slightly lighter than the dorsum (Means 1992; Petranka 1998). This species is considerably smaller than the other two species of Amphiuma. Adults reach 22-33 cm total length (Petranka 1998). The tail is about 25% of the total length. Larvae have branched gills which are resorbed quickly after hatching in the lab; larvae have not been found in the wild (Means 1992).
The three species of Amphiuma are similar but can be differentiated based on the number of toes (one, two, or three), coloration, and body size.
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: United States
U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi
Populations occur in small ponds, creeks, and intermittent streams. Individuals prefer to occupy the thick, organic muck at the bottom of these water bodies, a factor that may be responsible for the relatively recent discovery of this species and the difficulty in finding populations (Neill 1964; Means 1992).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Egg laying probably takes place in the summer (June and July). The female coils around the egg mass and hatching occurs in the late summer/early fall (Means 1992).
Diet consists of mud-dwelling invertebrates, including earthworms, sphaeriid clams, arthropod larvae, and beetles. Possible predators include raccoons, feral pigs, mud snakes (Farancia), snapping turtles, and Two-toed Amphiumas. Although they tend to keep to the thick bottom-layer of muck, One-toed Amphiumas must come to the surface to breathe. During dry periods and droughts, they will stay in burrows at least 12 inches underground (Means 1992).
Trends and Threats
The wetland habitat of One-toed Amphiuma is at risk due to development and agriculture (Means 1992).
Conant, R. and Collins, J. T. (1991). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern/Central North America. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
Karlin, A. A., and Means, D. B. (1994). ''Genetic variation in the aquatic salamander genus Amphiuma.'' American Midland Naturalist, 132, 1-9.
Means, D. B. (1992). "One-toed Amphiuma." Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. Volume 3. Amphibians and Reptiles. Moler, P. E., eds., University Press of Florida, Gainsville, FL., 34-38.
Moler, P. E. (ed.) (1992). Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. Volume 3. Amphibians and Reptiles. University Press of Florida
Neill, W. T. (1964). "A new species of salamander, Genus Amphiuma, from Florida." Herpetologica, 20, 62-66.
Petranka, J. W. (1998). Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. and London.
Originally submitted by: Meredith J. Mahoney (first posted 2000-07-20)
Edited by: Meredith J. Mahoney, Michelle S. Koo (2022-02-13)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Amphiuma pholeter: One-toed Amphiuma <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/3854> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Aug 10, 2022.
Feedback or comments about this page.
Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2022. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 10 Aug 2022.
AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.