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threatened and/or endangered

Hellbender Cryptobranchus alleganiensis


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credit: Brian Gatwicke

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Family: Cryptobranchidae, Hellbenders view all from this family

Description Giant Salamander. Flat body and head, slimy skin. Short legs, 4 toes on each. Uses working lungs, as well as gills, but these are mostly only found on immature specimens. Blotchy brown-reddish color with pale underside. During breeding male has a swollen ridge dent.

Dimensions 24-20cm. (9.4-16")

Subspecies Eastern has spotting.
Ozark is heavily blotchy.

Breeding Breeds late August through September in North. In south september through November. Males make a large nest cavity under large submerged rocks or logs. 200-500 eggs in a clutch laid in long strings. Male guards nest.

Habitat Rocky river bottoms and fast-flowing streams.

Range New York through to Georgia. Also in Missouri and the Susquehanna river.

Discussion Completely aquatic. Also called the devil dog. Often encountered by fishermen looking for fish bait under rocks. Said to inflict bites, a put slime on fishing lines with slime. Seen as a nuisance to fishermen but are harmless. Diest consists of small invertebrates including snails, worms and crayfish. Pollution and dam constructions threaten their survival.