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Amphibians

 

Mudpuppies

Mudpuppy, Necturus maculosus.
Mudpuppy,
Necturus maculosus.

Class: Amphibians
Order: Salamanders and newts
Family: Mudpuppy

Species found in the Rideau River:
Mudpuppy

Characteristics of the family:
This very small family is represented in eastern North America by five species of mudpuppies. One genus, Proteus, is found in Europe. These mudpuppies live in caves.


Representative species: Mudpuppy
Description Recognizable by its feathery, dark red, external gills, its brown colouring is speckled with black spots. A narrow grey stripe runs the length of its underbelly.
Size Maximum length: 30 cm.
Distribution The mudpuppy is the rarest species of salamander in Canada. It is found in southern parts of Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, and in northwestern Ontario.
Habitat It lives in rivers and some large lakes.
Food The crayfish is its favourite food. It also eats insects, fish and snails.
Life cycle Mating takes place in autumn. In the spring, the female hollows out a nest under a rock, log or other object on the river or lake bottom.
Interesting facts Unlike other salamanders, the mudpuppy keeps its gills throughout its life.

 

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A Project of the Canadian Museum of Nature
 Images: Allan G. Austin