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mud puppy,common name for North American salamanderssalamander,
an amphibian of the order Urodela, or Caudata. Salamanders have tails and small, weak limbs; superficially they resemble the unrelated lizards (which are reptiles), but they are easily distinguished by their lack of scales and claws, and by their moist, usually
..... Click the link for more information. of the genus Necturus, found in rivers and streams throughout the E United States and SE Canada. The name derives from an erroneous belief that mud puppies bark. Like its relative, the European olm, the mud puppy exhibits neotenyneoteny
, in biology, sexual maturity reached in the larval stage of some animals. Certain environmental conditions can inhibit the completion of metamorphosis; low temperature or lack of available iodine retard the action of the thyroid gland, the larval form may mature
..... Click the link for more information. , i.e., it reaches sexual maturity without losing its larval characteristics. Adults have lungs, characteristic of most adult salamanders, as well as gills, characteristic of larvae. Their short, sturdy limbs develop at an early stage. The mud puppy may reach a length of 12 in. (30 cm); it is reddish brown and black-spotted above and grayish below, with conspicuous bushy red gills at the sides of its head. It walks on river bottoms and feeds primarily on crayfish and aquatic plants. Mud puppies are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information. , subphylum Vertebrata, class Amphibia, order Urodela, family Proteidae.
mud puppy[′məd ‚pəp·ē]
Any of several American salamanders of the genera Necturus and Proteus making up the family Proteidae; distinguished by having both lungs and gills as an adult.