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 southeastern US.
Family Amphiumidae and genus Amphiuma: three species (identified by the number of toes on each limb), the one-toed A. pholeter, the two-toed A. means, and the three-toed A. tridactylum
- ‘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.’
- ‘A large, active amphiuma may rub its snout on the screen if the screen lid covers the entire top of the enclosure.’
- ‘Female amphiumas come to land to nest and lay their eggs, usually under a log near the water's edge.’
- ‘If handled roughly, the amphiuma will become aggressive and provide the aggressor with a painful bite.’
- ‘Sirens and amphiumas are large salamanders that may determine community structure through top-down effects.’
Modern Latin, probably formed irregularly from amphi- ‘both’ + Greek pneuma ‘breath’.
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