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Description: The mudpuppy is an aquatic species that vaguely resembles the hellbender. Adults range from 20.0 to 33.0 cm in total length, and have well developed external gills. Four toes are present on each of four well developed limbs. Dorsal ground color ranges from pink to brown. Scattered dark dorsal blotches are typically evident. Venter may be immaculate or possess several large dark spots.
Distribution and Habitat: This salamander probably occurs statewide in streams, reservoirs, and other permanent bodies of water. No specimens are available from the Obion River drainage, although Parker (1939) reported specimens caught by commercial fishermen in the Obion River.
Taxonomy: Relationships within the genus Necturus are poorly understood, and there is serious conflict among the various taxonomic schemes that have been proposed by several authors (Hecht, 1958; Neill, 1963a; Brode, 1969; and Mount, 1975). Most of these conflicts involve populations from areas south of Tennessee however, and there is general agreement that Tennessee populations are all assignable to N. maculosus. Conant and Collins (1991) recognize only one subspecies, N. m. maculosus, as occurring in Tennessee. However, N. m. louisianensis Viosca, which Collins (1991a, 1991b) believes may be a distinct species, may occur in the Coastal Plain drainages of West Tennessee.
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This document was adapted to the WWW by Rusty Smith and Carol Mayo.