The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will not add the one-toed Amphiuma to the federal threatened and endangered species list.
The aquatic, eel-like salamander have been found on the Pascagoula River in Jackson County, parts of Alabama (Mobile and Baldwin Counties), Florida (Levy and Hernando Counties) and two localities in the Ochlockonee River drainage of Georgia.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently removed the one-toed Amphiuma from its work plan because it’s doing better than originally thought.
Named because it has one toe on each foot, the Amphiuma reach a maximum length of 12 inches. With a unmarked dark brown body, it has two pairs of very minute and seemingly useless limbs. The head has a cone-shaped, lidless eyes with a slightly laterally flattened tail. A small gill slit is present on each side, just behind the eye.
One-toed Amphiuma is the smallest member of the species Amphiumidae. They are mostly active at night and prefer slow moving or stagnant shallow water with either muddy bottoms or weedy vegetation. They also love mud in the swampy floodplains close to Coastal waters.
According to the Service, egg laying occurs during the summer and egg hatching in the fall. The young reach adult size in two years.
To breathe, One-toed Amphiuma must come to the surface. During dry periods and droughts, one-toed amphiumas will stay in burrows at least 12 inches underground.
One-toed amphiumas eat tiny clams, snails, aquatic earthworms, crayfish, annelid worms, insect larvae, beetles, and amphibian larvae.