Family - Amphiumidae
(Conger Salamanders)

Amphiuma is an aquatic salamander in the family of the Amphiumidae. Amphiumas have one of the largest amounts of DNA in the living world, around 25 times more than a human. Adult Amphiuma lack gills and use lungs to breath air. Larvae hatch with the external gills and transform partially, losing the gills but retaining one pair of gill slits.

         

Amphiumas are usually grey-black in color. Amphiumas have legs, but they are very small. There body’s can be up to 46 inches long when there legs can measure up to 2 centimeters. They also lack eyelids and a tongue. Female Amphiumas lay there eggs in wet mud, and then remain coiled around them for about five months, until they hatch.

         

Amphiumas inhabit the southeastern part of the United States. In the past Amphiumas have been further distributed. Fossils show that they once were distributed in Europe as well. During the day Amphiumas hide in vegetation, and at night they become active and go hunting. There preys include frogs, snakes, fish, crustaceans, insects and even other Amphiumas. If provoked, they can become aggressive. There are 3 Amphiuma species, known by the number of toes they have. There is the three-toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma tridactylum), two-toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma means), and the one-toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma pholeter).

 

Author: Makenna Y

Published 02/2010