Field Guide to Maryland's Salamanders and Newts  (Order Caudata)

Common Mudpuppy

Family: Common Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus maculosus)

Common Name:
Common Mudpuppy

Scientific Name:
Necturus maculosus maculosus

Photo 1: Adult photo of Common Mudpuppy courtesy of Art Hulse
Adult photo of Common Mudpuppy courtesy of Art Hulse

  • 8 – 13 in.
  • Record - 19⅛ in.

  • Long and stout aquatic salamander with 3 pairs of red or maroon bushy external gills.
  • Large fore and hind limbs with 4 toes each.
  • Tail is eel-like, vertically flattened with a distinct fin. 
  • The head is flattened and tapered leading to a blunt snout with enlarged brows behind small, dark and lidless eyes.
  • A dark stripe extends from the snout, through the eyes, to the gills.
  • It has a rusty brown, grayish brown, blue-black or gray back with scattered dark spots or blotches. 
  • The underside or belly is gray with some large dark spots.


Photo of Common Mudpuppy Habitat by Matt Kline
Photo of Common Mudpuppy Habitat courtesy of Matt Kline

  • A variety of permanently aquatic habitats including large rivers, lakes and reservoirs.
  • Fast-flowing streams with rocky bottoms.
  • Sluggish and muddy streams.
  • Muddy canals and weed-choked ponds.
  • They may occur at great depths (>60 feet) or in shallows near shore.

How to Find:

Distribution in Maryland:
Maryland Distribution Map for Common Mudpuppy