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Common Mudpuppy

Fact File

Scientific Name: Necturus maculosus maculosus

Classification: Amphibian

Conservation Status:

Size: Up to 19 inches

Identifying Characteristics

Adults have large, red, feathery gills, four toes on each foot, and a paddle-like tail. Coloration on the back is gray to rust-brown with faded blue-black spots. A dark horizontal line runs from the snout to the gills on each side of the head. Larvae and juveniles have a broad, grayish stripe down the back bordered on each side by a yellowish stripe.Any small aquatic animal may be taken as food such as fish, fish eggs, crayfish, aquatic insects, mollusks etc.


Mudpuppies have been found in Virginia only in the far southwestern rivers. They occur in shallow rivers such as the Clinch and Powell rivers.

Did You Know?

For many years mudpuppies were used in biology classes for dissection.

Role in the Web of Life

Mudpuppies are nocturnal and can be active year-round. Mating occurs fall through spring. Females turn upside down and lay 20–200 eggs singly on the underside of rocks or logs in water, and guard their eggs until they hatch. Prey includes a variety of insects and their larvae. Predators include fish, otters, and larger mudpuppies.


Tier III Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Virginia’s Wildlife Action Plan.

Last updated: January 19, 2024

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Species Profile Database serves as a repository of information for Virginia’s fish and wildlife species. The database is managed and curated by the Wildlife Information and Environmental Services (WIES) program. Species profile data, distribution information, and photography is generated by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, State and Federal agencies, Collection Permittees, and other trusted partners. This product is not suitable for legal, engineering, or surveying use. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources does not accept responsibility for any missing data, inaccuracies, or other errors which may exist. In accordance with the terms of service for this product, you agree to this disclaimer.