Trisha Shetty (Editor)

List of semiaquatic tetrapods

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This is a list of tetrapods that spend part of their life cycle or a significant fraction of their time in water.


Semiaquatic Tetrapoda are those that are primarily or partly terrestrial but that spend a large amount of time swimming or otherwise occupied in water, either as part of their life cycle or as an essential behavior (e.g. feeding). Some marine mammals, such the marine otter, the polar bear and pinnipeds, are semiaquatic, while others, such as the sea otter, cetaceans and sirenians, are fully aquatic. The only fully aquatic nonmarine mammals are several manatees (the Amazonian manatee and some populations of African manatee) and certain small cetaceans (river dolphins, the tucuxi, and some populations of Irrawaddy dolphin and finless porpoise). Among marine reptiles, marine iguanas and partly marine crocodiles (such as the saltwater crocodile and the American crocodile) are all semiaquatic. Sea turtles are almost fully aquatic, but must come ashore to lay eggs. Most sea snakes are ovoviviparous and fully aquatic (the exception being the oviparous, semiaquatic sea kraits). On the other hand, no bird species is fully aquatic, as all must lay and incubate their eggs, as well as begin raising their young, on land or ice. Most amphibians have an aquatic larval stage and are at least semiaquatic for that reason, but there are many exceptions to this generalization.


  • Monotremes
  • Platypus - (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)
  • Marsupials
  • Lutrine opossum - (Lutreolina crassicaudata)
  • Water opossum or yapok - (Chironectes minimus)
  • Tenrecs
  • Otter shrews
  • Web-footed tenrec
  • Primates
  • Allen's swamp monkey
  • Proboscis monkey
  • Rodents
  • Castorimorpha - beavers, pocket gophers, and kangaroo rats
  • Beavers
  • Caviomorpha - New World hystricognaths
  • Capybaras
  • Coypu
  • Paca
  • Myomorpha - mouse-like rodents
  • 'Crab-eating rats'
  • European water vole
  • 'Fish-eating rats'
  • 'Marsh rats'
  • Muskrat
  • 'Swamp rats'
  • 'Water mice'
  • 'Water rats'
  • Lagomorphs
  • Marsh rabbit
  • Swamp rabbit
  • Soricomorphs
  • Desmans
  • 'Water shrews'
  • Carnivorans
  • Mustelidae - weasels and otters
  • Minks
  • Otters (except the sea otter)
  • Pinnipeds
  • Procyonidae - raccoons
  • Crab-eating raccoon - (Procyon cancrivorus)
  • Ursidae - bears
  • Polar bear - (Ursus maritimus)
  • Felidae - cats
  • Fishing cat
  • Flat-headed cat
  • Herpestidae - mongooses
  • Crab-eating mongoose
  • Viverridae - civets and genets
  • Aquatic genet
  • Perissodactyla
  • Rhinocerotidae - rhinos
  • Indian rhinoceros
  • Javan rhinoceros
  • Sumatran rhinoceros
  • Tapiridae - tapirs
  • Baird's tapir
  • Brazilian tapir
  • Malayan tapir
  • Artiodactyls
  • Bovidae - ruminants
  • Anoa
  • Sitatunga
  • Waterbuck
  • Wild water buffalo
  • Cervidae - deer
  • Chinese water deer
  • Marsh deer
  • Moose
  • Hippopotamidae - hippos
  • Hippopotamus
  • Pygmy hippopotamus
  • Tragulidae - mouse-deer
  • Greater mouse-deer
  • Water chevrotain
  • Yellow-striped chevrotain
  • Birds

  • Austrodyptornithes
  • Penguin
  • Ducks
  • Geese
  • Swans
  • Herons
  • Kingfishers
  • Gulls
  • Pelicans
  • Sandpipers
  • Plovers
  • Auks
  • Jaegers
  • Dippers
  • Reptiles

  • Crocodilians
  • Lizards
  • Asian water monitor
  • Basiliscus (basilisks)
  • Dracaena (caiman lizards)
  • Gal├ípagos marine iguana
  • Mertens' water monitor
  • Mitchell's water monitor
  • Nile monitor
  • Snakes
  • Anacondas
  • Cottonmouth
  • Crayfish snakes
  • Garter snakes
  • Mud snake
  • Rainbow snake
  • Sea kraits
  • Water cobras
  • 'Water snakes'
  • Grass snake
  • Most turtles, excluding fully terrestrial box turtles, tortoises, and some Asian box turtles
  • Amphibians

    Most amphibians have an aquatic larval stage and thus are at least semiaquatic by virtue of this fact. Many adult amphibians are also semiquatic (while others are fully aquatic or terrestrial). However, some amphibians lack an aquatic larval stage. Some frogs, such as most leiopelmatids, most ranixalids, some leptodactylids, some myobatrachids, Darwin's frog and the Seychelles frog, have nonaquatic tadpoles. Some caecilians, many frogs such as saddleback toads, most sooglossids and the greenhouse frog, and most plethodontid salamanders lay eggs on land in which the larvae develop into adult form before they hatch. The alpine salamander and African live-bearing toads (Nectophrynoides and Nimbaphrynoides) are ovoviviparous and give birth on land. Additionally, about 75% of caecilians are viviparous.

  • Most anurans (frogs and toads), but not the fully aquatic pipids, or fully aquatic members of other families such as Telmatobiidae
  • Some caecilians, such as ichthyophiids, rhinatrematids, Chthonerpeton and Nectocaecilia, but not including other fully aquatic typhlonectids
  • Most non-plethodontid salamanders, but not including the fully aquatic amphiumids, cryptobranchids, proteids, sirenids and various neotenic species in other families, such as Ambystoma mexicanum
  • References

    List of semiaquatic tetrapods Wikipedia