The Common Mudpuppy, Necturus maculosus
The Common mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus) is a species of salamander. A member of the Proteidae family, this aquatic amphibian is native to eastern North America.
The Common mudpuppy can be found in lakes, rivers and ponds. During the daytime the mudpuppy will bury itself under rocks and logs. The salamander often only becomes active at night when it leaves cover to feed.
Orange-brown/rust coloration covers the body of the Common mudpuppy. Bluish-black spots appear on its head and back. The belly-side is typically a brown or grey and contains spots, as well. Typical sizes are around 13 inches long, but mudpuppies as long as 16 inches have been reported. A slimy texture offers the Common mudpuppy a protective coating.
The Common mudpuppy is an opportunistic feeder. Its diet consists of anything it is capable of overtaking. Commonly it is seen feeding on various insects, mollusks and worms. When defending itself against predators, the Common mudpuppy may secrete poison from glands on its skin.
The Common mudpuppy begins its breeding season in autumn. The adult female will bury its eggs, an average of 60 per clutch, deep into areas with slow moving current. Larvae are guarded, commonly by the female salamander, and typically hatching occurs after a 40 day incubation period.
Image Caption: Common mudpuppy. Credit: National Park Service/Wikipedia (public domain)