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Amphiuma

Amphiumas are a genus of salamanders, the only genus within the family Amphiumidae. They are also known as "congo eels" or "congo snakes", which are zoologically incorrect designations.

Amphiumas and sirens[?] share the same distribution, although they are not closely related. They inhabit the southeastern part of the USA.

The legs are existing, but very small: amphiumas are up to 1 m long, but their legs measure only 2 cm. Therefore these animals resemble eels.

At daytime amphiumas hide in the shore vegetation, and at night they become active and go hunting. Their prey are frogs, snakes, fish, crustaceans and insects.

Larvae have external gills. After four months these external gills disappear and the lungs begin to work. One pair of gill slits is retained and never disappears, so the metamorphosis remains incomplete.

In the past amphiumas have been further distributed. Fossiles from the Pleistocene era show, that they once were distributed in Europe as well.

There are three amphiuma species, distinguished by the number of toes:

  1. Three-toed amphiuma (Amphiuma tridactylum)
  2. Two-toed amphiuma (Amphiuma means)
  3. One-toed amphiuma (Amphiuma pholeter)



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