common mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus maculosus)

Characteristics

General coloration of the hellbender or waterdog is gray to rust-brown to almost black. Since this species is a permanent larva, it retains its maroon gills throughout its life. There are four toes on four feet and a dark stripe through the eye. This species is nocturnal.

Distribution

All verified locations within Virginia are in the Tennessee River drainage. Found under diverse conditions abundant in the clear waters of lakes and streams, but occurs in muddy and weed-choked bays and coves, and in canals and drainage ditches.

Foods

Any small aquatic animal may be taken as food such as fish, fish eggs, crayfish, aquatic insects, mollusks etc.