by: Sara Craig
Role in the ecosytstem
Mudpuppies are important predators of aquatic invertebrates and small fish in their native aquatic ecosystems. They also are eaten by larger aquatic predators, like large fish, herons, and water snakes. They have little effect on humans.
Mudpuppy is a large salamander.
Adult mudpuppies can reach between 8 and 13 inches in length.
Body of mudpuppy is usually grey, brownish-grey or rust-brown in color, covered in bluish or grey spots.
Underside of the body is grey and it can be covered with dark spots.
Surface of mudpuppy's body is covered with protective slime.
Mudpuppy has flat head with small eyes and large mouth.
Its body is thick; legs are short and equipped with clawless toes.
Mudpuppy has wide tail.
Mudpuppy is named that way because it produces loud squeaks which sound like barking of a dog.
Mudpuppy breathes using the gills because it spends its entire life in the water.
Gills could be easily recognized due to distinctive, red color and bushy appearance. They are located on the both sides of the neck.
Mudpuppy does not have constant temperature. Its body temperature depends on the temperature of the environment.
These types of animals are known as cold-blooded.
Unlike other salamanders, mudpuppy does not have poison in its skin that can be used against the predators. Instead, mudpuppy needs to hide in the case of danger.Main predators of mudpuppy are birds, large fish and snakes.
Mudpuppy is a carnivore (meat-eaters). It feeds on different types of water invertebrates (crayfish, snails and worms), other salamanders and eggs of various water organisms.
Mudpuppies form mating aggregations in the fall in shallow water. Males join females in sheltered areas under rocks or logs in shallow water. Males swim and crawl around the females and eventually deposit a 1 cm spermatophore. Females pick up the spermatophores in their cloaca, where it is stored until spring. (Harding, 2000)
By retaining their juvenile features, along with other adaptations, they are able to inhabit rivers, perennial streams, ponds and lakes throughout eastern North America, from southern Canada to Georgia. They can even be found in the Midwest.