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South Central ARMI

Guide to Louisiana Amphibians

Three-toed amphiuma (Amphiuma tridactylum)

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  Image of Three-toed amphiuma (Amphiuma tridactylum)
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  Range Map for Three-toed amphiuma (Amphiuma tridactylum)
  Range map source: USGS National Amphibian Atlas, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Elongate, eel-like salamander ranging from 18 to 30 inches in length. Dorsum is dark brown and contrasts greatly with a much lighter gray venter and dark throat patch. Each limb contains three small toes. Single gill slit present on both sides of body. Long, laterally compressed tail. Commonly found in shallow, unpolluted freshwater with low turbidity and low visibility as well as the agricultural fields in the lower Mississippi floodplains. Breeding season occurs in the winter and spring. Males observed fighting in courtship and territorial situations. Females lay eggs from April to early September and may be ovoviviparous in some situations. Eggs are laid in bead-like strings. After depositing eggs the female remains coiled around eggs and guards until hatching. Incubation period is approximately 5 months. Very short larval stage. Species also known as the "congo" eel or "lamper" eel. Species occurs throughout the State.

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