Temporal range: Paleocene-present
|Necturus maculosus maculosus|
7 species ( but see text)
Necturus is a genus of aquatic salamanders native to the eastern United States and Canada. They are commonly known as waterdogs and mudpuppies. The common mudpuppy (N. maculosus) is probably the best-known species - as an amphibian with gill slits, it is often dissected in comparative anatomy classes.
The genus is under scrutiny by herpetologists. The relationship between the species is still being studied. In 1991 Collins elevated N. maculosus louisianensis to full species status, usually considered a subspecies of the common mudpuppy (N. maculosus), but his interpretation was not followed.
There are five species:
Necturus are paedomorphic: adults retain larval-like morphology with external gills, two pairs of gill slits, and no eyelids. They are moderately robust and have two pairs of short but well-developed limbs and a large, laterally compressed tail. Lungs are present but small. Typical adult size is 20-25 cm (8-10 in) in total length, but Necturus punctatus is larger and may reach 40 cm (16 in).