Impurest's Guide to Animals #110 - Common Mudpuppy

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Edited By ImpurestCheese

Once again we say Happy Birthday to Impurest’s Guide to Animals as we celebrate two years since the first Issue. While that is a landmark it’s nothing compared to the millions of years that last week’s animal, Triops cancriformis, has been around. This week’s animal mixes the words sweet and slimy together to make an adorable amphibian companion. Hope you guys enjoy.

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Issue #110 – Common Mudpuppy

[1]
[1]

Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum – Chordata

Class – Amphibia

Order – Caudata

Family – Proteidae

Genus – Necturus

Species – maculosus

Related Species – The Common Mudpuppy, despite appearances are not related to the Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum), and represent one of the two genus in the family Proteidae, the other being the Olm (Proteus anguinus) (1)

Range

[2]
[2]

The Muddiest of Puppies

The Common Mudpuppy is a rust coloured large salamander, which achieves a length of 30cm. The most notable feature of the Mudpuppy is the large external gills left over from the larval stage that most newts and salamanders go through. These neonatal features have been retained, due to the lungs and skin being inefficient at respiring enough oxygen for the animals need. In water bodies with very little oxygen dissolved in the water the gills are much larger, whereas in well oxygenated water the gills are much smaller (2). Mudpuppies are largely nocturnal, with animals spending the day hidden among stone and submerged logs out of the scope of predators.

Mudpuppies are predators themselves, and feed on any animals that they can fit in their mouths including fish, invertebrates and even smaller mudpuppies as well as other salamanders. Both juvenile and adult mudpuppies have few predators, although water birds and otters are known to feed on the salamanders. The main predator for the species are human (Homo sapiens sapiens)fisherman, which catch the salamanders as bycatch, often discarding them on lake shores in the misbelief that the species has a negative fish of fish stocks.

Common Mudpuppies are sexually mature when they reach six years old, with males releasing spermatophores onto the lake bottom, with females internally storing these packages until they are ready to ovulate. When ready to lay eggs, the female deposits up to sixty eggs on the underside of a stone or a log, with the tadpoles hatching around a month later. The newly hatched tadpoles are around two centimetres, and after using up the attached egg yolk, become active predators of small invertebrates (3).

A Common Mudpuppy Tadpole [3]
A Common Mudpuppy Tadpole [3]

Five Fun Common Mudpuppy Facts

Mudpuppy populations in the southern part of their range are known as Waterdogs.

Both Mudpuppy and Waterdog come from the whining squeaky vocalisations the species makes which reportedly sounds like a dog’s bark.

Common Mudpuppies are able to produce a toxic slime from their skin if provoked by predators.

In clear water, the skin of the mudpuppies gets darker to provide additional defence against sunlight (4).

[4]
[4]

While most amphibians hibernate in winter, Common Mudpuppies remain active all year round, even when the surface of their lake homes are frozen over.

Bibliography

1 -www.arkive.org

2 - Halliday, Tim R., and Kraig Adler (eds.) (1986) "Salamanders and Newts." The Encyclopaedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford: George Allen and Unwin, pp. 18–31

3 – Gans, C., and R. A. Nussbaum (1981) "The Mudpuppy." Vertebrates, a Laboratory Text. Ed. Norman K. Wessells and Elizabeth M. Center. 2nd ed. Los Altos, Calif.: W. Kaufmann, pp. 108–41.

4 – Chiasson, Richard B (1969). Laboratory Anatomy of Necturus. 3rd ed. Dubuque: Wm C. Brown

Picture References

1 - http://cdn1.arkive.org/media/7C/7CC37F50-4DB9-48E0-9E2F-CE4E45FBB74C/Presentation.Large/common-mudpuppy-resting-on-stream-bed.jpg

2 - http://www.naturenorth.com/Herps/images/Map_Mudpuppy.jpg

3 - http://fl.biology.usgs.gov/c1258_Dodd/circ1258_plates_17a.jpg

4 -

Well, that’s two years of animal blogs and we’re not stopping there. Next week we’ll either be foaming at the mouth or hopping mad as we look at next week’s creature. Until then critic, comment and suggest future issues as well as making sure you check past issues in Impurest’s Bestiary.

Many Thanks

Impurest Cheese

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Avenging-X-Bolt

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Oh Mudkip, you look so damn ugly in real life.

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Ostyo

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Man, these little dudes are so jacked once they mega evolve.

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#5  Edited By cbishop

@impurestcheese: I feel the need to yell "kill it with fire" when I see this. It looks like a big snake head on a miniature body. ...with legs.

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@ostyo: Yeah they are, make sure he's in the rain though for that Swift Swim speed bonus

@cbishop: Well the species is mostly harmless to humans unless you try to eat it. Mudpuppies don't like being set on fire, little legs or not

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From what I read on other online articles, Mudkip is actually based on the Axolotl, another Salamander.

Has anyone tried taking care of a Salamander? Would be interested to know about their intelligence. Anecdotes regarding Amphibian intelligence gives me the impression that they are generally dumber than Lizards.

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@tsciallsolle3451: Yeah a friend of mine had fire salamanders. They were generally easy to keep and feed. They generally act on pure instinct rather than intelligence but one was smart enough to make a break for freedom, and even hid out for a few years behind the water heater. Apparently after he left it came out and scared the new owner half to death.

Always up to no good...
Always up to no good...

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#9  Edited By scavengerFist

How close is this related to the Olm?

EDIT: You know, in physical aspects, etc.

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@tsciallsolle3451: Yeah a friend of mine had fire salamanders. They were generally easy to keep and feed. They generally act on pure instinct rather than intelligence but one was smart enough to make a break for freedom, and even hid out for a few years behind the water heater. Apparently after he left it came out and scared the new owner half to death.

How would a domestic Amphibian even survive outside of its enclosure?

Unless the water heater environment was chock full of recurring food (i.e.: insects and the like attracted to the place)

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@scavengerfist: The Olm and the Mudpuppies are in the same family, the entire family retains neonatal features and unlike the axolotl can't be forced to mature into an adult salamander.

@tsciallsolle3451: The housing was student accommodation and there was an excess of woodlice in the house. Plus the area around the water heater was warm and damp.

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Avatar_of_Green

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Resistance to electricty for a water type? That's got to be valuable bro!

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@avatar_of_green: Water/Ground typing probably. Just like Mudkip, Wooper, Sesmitoad ect

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MadeinBangladesh

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It looks cool

~MiB

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Congrats on 2 years :D

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Congrats on two years! What a cute puppy!

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#21 SpareHeadOne  Online

@impurestcheese:

How convergent is the mud puppy with the axalotyl? What are the similarities and differences?

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@theik2: Ah thanks, these puppies are adorable indeed

@spareheadone: The Mudpuppies and Olms are very simular to the Axolotl in appearance, with all three being neonatal salamanders. The difference is that Olms and Mudpuppies are much larger, and unlike the Axolotl can't be hormonelly stimulated to transform into a terrestrial adult form.

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#27 BumpyBoo  Moderator

Is it wrong to wanna pet it....

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@bumpyboo: Not wrong at all, I think they are charming and adorable.

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@impurestcheese

If you gave muddpuppies the right hormones could you remove their gills, or would that only work with the axolotl?

Also I missed these

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@laflux: Hormonal treatment will not turn a Mudpuppy into a terrestrial salamander. The Axolotl is actually one of the terrestrial mole salamanders adapted to an aquatic life, but only recently. Fossilised relatives of the Mudpuppies European relatives the Olms show that the Proteus Salamanders were adapted to aquatic life over 40 million years ago.

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@laflux: Hormonal treatment will not turn a Mudpuppy into a terrestrial salamander. The Axolotl is actually one of the terrestrial mole salamanders adapted to an aquatic life, but only recently. Fossilised relatives of the Mudpuppies European relatives the Olms show that the Proteus Salamanders were adapted to aquatic life over 40 million years ago.

Cool :)

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Mud Puppy's.. DISCUSTIN'

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A couple of observations as I reach the end of catching up with Eloise's blogs:

1) Figures that I'd leave the site right before she celebrated the two year anniversary of these essays. My timing on things isn't very good.

2) That she'd pick an animal that I've actually come across, many times over, and consider very adorable is just so fitting. Initially, not so much, but that's usually how it works when I come across things I'm ignorant about.

3) While I know I can browse and reread her contributions, I find myself regretting having gorged on them this past week. While I did feel guilty for not being around the past year or so when Imp posted these, while I did go through them eagerly and with great enjoyment, I realise now that I also got to put off the realisation I won't be receiving notifications of any new ones.

God damn it. I hate this. I'm so sorry, Imp. What an incredible human being you were. I will share these for as long as I am allowed to. I hope this site won't cut off access to them in the future.