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Species Description

One-toed Amphiuma

Amphiuma pholeter


Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Caudata
Family: Amphiumidae


Uniformly dark gray to brown, although the belly may be slightly lighter. Being 22 - 32 cm (8.5 - 12.5 in) long, this is a smaller species than the Two-toed Amphiuma.

Life Cycle

Little is known about the habits of this secretive species, which spends a great deal of time in its burrow. It is assumed to have habits similar to those of the Two-toed Amphiuma. It eats small invertebrates. This is primarily an aquatic salamander, adapted for burrowing into muddy bottoms. It prefers very mucky habitats, especially floodplains of small, frequently flooded streams.


One-toed Amphiuma Region Map The One-toed Amphiuma has only been found in the Ochlockonee River drainage of Thomas and Grady counties, in extreme southwest Georgia. It may be present elsewhere in extreme southwest Georgia, but its secretive nature may interfere with collecting it in other river systems draining into north Florida.

Conservation Status

The One-toed Amphiuma is listed as Rare and is protected in Georgia. Thomas and Grady counties may be the northern limit for this species. Until more is known of its distribution and biology, its habitat needs to be protected to keep the species in the state. The wetlands it prefers should be protected from drainage, siltation, and development.

Similar Species

In Georgia, there are only two counties where both species of Amphiuma occur. The number of toes and the distinctly darker coloration of the back separate the Two-toed Amphiuma from the One-toed Amphiuma. Lack of external gills and presence of four tiny legs separate the One-toed Amphiuma from the Sirens and Waterdogs. Eels are fish and have fins.