Mudpuppies are among the largest of all Salamanders, and can grow to about 14in in length. They can be found throughout the Eastern United States and Canada, and are completely aquatic. They prefer shallow lakes and streams, though specimens have been found at depths of 100 feet. Mudpuppies spend most of the day hiding under rocks and vegetation. They are carnivorous and feed at night off of insects, crustaceans, small fish, and snails.
Necturus maculosus is identified by their brown spotted bodies and bright red gills. It is an interesting species of Amphibian because gills are their one and only method of breathing, unlike many other species of salamander which develop lungs during their metamorphosis. Another pretty unique trait is that Mudpuppies guard their eggs, rather than lay them an abandon them. It takes up to 5 week for eggs to hatch after being laid. Mudpuppies have a lifespan of around twenty years and don't even reach sexual maturity until about five or six.
Mudpuppies are not a threatened species, but habitat loss and pollution has affected some localized populations.