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One-toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma pholeter)


Photos by J.D. Willson unless otherwise noted

 
range map: SC and GArange map: eastern US
 

Amphiumids are commonly known as "congo eels," a complete misnomer if there ever was one. First of all, amphiumids are amphibians, rather than fish (which eels are). Furthermore, the congo eel, which is probably the basis for this common name, is a marine fish. This notwithstanding, amphiumas certainly bear resemblance to the elongate fishes. It is easy to overlook the diminutive legs, and the lack of any external gills (as opposed to the sirens) adds to the similarity between the amphiumas and eels. Amphiumas have two pairs of legs, and the three species, all of which occur in the southeastern United States, differ in regard to the number of toes at the ends of these limbs. There are three species: one species has one toe, one has two, and the third has three toes per limb. The one-toed amphiuma has a restricted range that is mostly in Florida and only barely extending into southern Georgia. It is a protected species in Georgia.

 

 
Salamanders of SC and GA
Reptiles and Amphibians of SC and GA
SREL Herpetology