Definitions

blind eel

Two-toed Amphiuma

The Two-toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma means) is a snake-like Salamander found chiefly in the southeastern United States. It is commonly, but incorrectly, called Congo Snake, Congo Eel or the Blind Eel. It has a thick body about 36 inches (91 cm) long, four vestigial legs that end in two or three toes which are virtually useless, and eyes with lids. It is of blue-black colour. They feed on small fish, snails, and insect larvae; it is harmless to humans although they can deliver a tough bite. Unlike other salamanders, which are mute, the Congo snake gives a clear whistle when disturbed.

Behaviour

Two-toed Amphiumas are nocturnal and inflict nasty bites when disturbed. They are often difficult to handle because of their slippery skins. They may leave water temporarily if weather is wet enough and they dig burrows in muddy bottoms or it may invade the burrows of other marine creatures. Amphiumas breed from June to July in North Carolina and northern Florida. Females lay about 200 eggs in a damp cavity beneath debris and they remain coiled around them during incubation (which lasts around 5 months). Hatchlings are about 2 1/8" (54 mm) and are long with light-colored gills soon lost after hatching.

Habitat & Range

The Amphiumas live in acidic waters of swamps, bayous, and the occasional drainage ditch. Their range is from southeastern Virginia's, Florida's, and eastern Louisiana's coastal plain.

References

  • Database entry includes a range map and a brief justification of why this species is of least concern
  • National Audubon Society Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians

External links

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