A large aquatic salamander (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) of the eastern and central United States. Also called mudpuppy.
from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
Reaching lengths of over two feet in length and weighing over 3 lbs., the hellbender is the largest amphibian species found in North America and the third largest salamander in the world, coming in behind the Chinese and the Japanese giant salamanders which are truly massive.
As the continent's largest frog species and second largest amphibian the hellbender is the largest, bullfrogs are powerful predators that will eat anything smaller than themselves that they can fit down their large mouths.
A newt -- aka a hellbender or mud puppy -- is a slimy amphibian with an uncanny ability to reinvent itself by regenerating limbs, eyes, jaws, a spinal cord, even its heart.
Salamanders, which thrive in moist environments that keep their skin wet, number 2 dozen species, from the pigmy salamander that is less than 2 inches at maturity to the hellbender, which is nearly 30 inches.
There are three types left on the planet-the Japanese and Chinese giant salamanders and a much smaller American giant salamander called the hellbender
Hellbender Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Amphibia Order: Urodela Family: Cryptobranchidae Genus: Cryptobranchus
Species: C. alleganiensis Binomial name Cryptobranchus alleganiensis(Daudin, 1803) Subspecies
- C. a. alleganiensis
- C. a. bishopi
Distribution of the eastern hellbender (Ozark hellbender not shown) Synonyms
- Salamandra alleganiensis
- Salamandra horrida
- Salamandra gigantea
- Salamandra maxima
- Molge gigantea
— Merrem, 1820
- Cryptobranchus salamandroides
- Urotropis mucronata
- Abranchus alleghaniensis [sic]
- Protonopsis horrida
— Barnes, 1826
- Salamandrops gigantea
— Wagler, 1830
- Eurycea mucronata
- Menopoma fuscum
- Cryptobranchus alleghaniensis [sic]
— Cope, 1887
- Cryptobranchus alleganiensis
— Stejneger & Barbour, 1917
- Cryptobranchus terrasodactylus
- Cryptobranchus bishopi
- Cryptobranchus guildayi
The hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis), also known as the hellbender salamander or spotted water gecko, is a species of aquatic giant salamander endemic to eastern North America. A member of the family Cryptobranchidae, the hellbender is the only member of the genus Cryptobranchus, and is joined only by one other genus of salamanders (Andrias, which contains the Japanese and Chinese giant salamanders) at the family level. The hellbender, which is much larger than all other salamanders in its geographic range, employs an unusual means of respiration (which involves cutaneous gas exchange through capillaries found in its dorsoventral skin folds), and fills a particular niche — both as a predator and prey — in its ecosystem, which either it or its ancestors have occupied for around 65 million years. The species is listed as Near Threatened.
- Bredehoeft, Keila E.; Schubert, Blaine W. (2015). "A Re-Evaluation of the Pleistocene Hellbender, Cryptobranchus guildayi ". Journal of Herpetology. 49: 157–160. doi:10.1670/12-222.
- Geoffrey Hammerson, Christopher Phillips (2004). "Cryptobranchus alleganiensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2004: e.T59077A11879843. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2004.RLTS.T59077A11879843.en.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
- Dundee, Harold A. (1971). "Cryptobranchus alleganiensis ". Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Account 101.
- Cite error: The named reference
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- Stejneger L, Barbour T (1917). A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 125 pp. (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis, p. 7).
- Bates, Mary (2015-02-02). "The Creature Feature: 10 Fun Facts About Hellbenders". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
- Williams, R.D.; Gates, J.T.; Hocutt, C.H; Taylor, G.J. (1981). "The Hellbender: A Nongame Species in Need of Management". Wildlife Society Bulletin. 9 (2): 94–100. JSTOR 3781577.
- Guimond, R.W.; Hutchison, V.H. (21 December 1973). "Aquatic Respiration: An Unusual Strategy in the Hellbender Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis (Daudin)". Science. 182 (4118): 1263–1265. doi:10.1126/science.182.4118.1263. PMID 17811319.
- Sabatino, Stephen J.; Routman, Eric J. (October 2009). "Phylogeography and conservation genetics of the hellbender salamander (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)". Conservation Genetics. 10 (5): 1235–1246. doi:10.1007/s10592-008-9655-5.