One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A fully aquatic eel-like amphibian with very small limbs, occurring in stagnant water and swamps in the south-eastern US.
Family Amphiumidae and genus Amphiuma: three species
- ‘Unlike sirens, amphiumas retain both pairs of girdles and limbs, though both are reduced in size, and the limbs are often both difficult to discern and of decreased function in adults.’
- ‘If handled roughly, the amphiuma will become aggressive and provide the aggressor with a painful bite.’
- ‘A large, active amphiuma may rub its snout on the screen if the screen lid covers the entire top of the enclosure.’
- ‘Sirens and amphiumas are large salamanders that may determine community structure through top-down effects.’
- ‘Female amphiumas come to land to nest and lay their eggs, usually under a log near the water's edge.’
Modern Latin, probably formed irregularly from amphi- ‘both’ + Greek pneuma ‘breath’.
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