Body-coiling Behavior in the Three-toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma tridactylum)


  • Clifford L., Jr. Fontenot Department of Biological Sciences, Southeastern Louisiana University
  • William I. Lutterschmidt Department of Biological Sciences, Sam Houston State University



Salamanders coil their bodies for a variety of reasons, but primarily as a response to predators. For the aquatic salamander Amphiuma, all reports on coiling are associated with nest attendance, although another notion has made it into the literature, that Amphiuma coils its body to reduce evaporative water loss of the adult. We inadvertently tested this notion via another study on temperature preference in an aquatic thermal gradient. Because nearly half of our observations were of tightly coiled individuals underwater, we conclude that this behavior is not for reducing evaporative water loss, but more likely a defensive posture.


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How to Cite

Fontenot, C. L. J., & Lutterschmidt, W. I. (2011). Body-coiling Behavior in the Three-toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma tridactylum). Reptiles & Amphibians, 18(3), 134-137.