Any of several long slender salamanders of the genus Amphiuma of the southeast United States that in their adult stage have two pairs of very small nonfunctioning legs and breathe with lungs although they are aquatic. Also called Congo eel . Also called Congo snake .
Origin of amphiumaNew Latin Amphiuma genus name Greek amphi- amphi- Greek pneuma breath ( so named by Alexander Garden, probably in the belief that the adults could breathe in water as well as in air ); see pneu- in Indo-European roots.
From Latin amphi- (“around, both”), and alteration of Ancient Greek πνεῦμα (pneuma, “breath”).