Mudpuppy

Latin Name
Necturus maculosus

Class
Amphibians

Order
Caudata

Description

 Also known as waterdogs, mudpuppies are aquatic salamanders that grow to about one foot in length. They resemble muddy rocks, which suits them in their habitat. Unlike most salamanders which lose their gills as they mature, mudpuppies retain their gills throughout their lives. A large mouth is complemented by a fanned collar around the neck and stubby legs.  


 

Range

 Mudpuppies can be found from southern Canada throughout the Midwest and southern United States.  


Status

 Unknown  


Habitat

 Mudpuppies seek out small lakes and streams with slow-moving water and rocky beds, where they hide.  


Niche

 The mudpuppy diet consists of small fish and invertebrates like crayfish, snails and worms. Fish, snakes and birds will prey on mudpuppies.  


Life History

Reaching sexual maturity at five years, mudpuppies can live more than two decades. After mating, females attach eggs to submerged stones or logs. Females will tend to these clusters as they develop.   

 


Special Adaptations

While mudpuppies have lungs, they are rarely used for respiration, as these creatures spend almost their entire lives underwater.

Bright red gills straddle the mudpuppy’s body, employed to extract oxygen from cool water. Mudpuppies can also absorb oxygen through their skin and will occasionally rise to the surface to breath air. 



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