Their skin is loose, creating folds along the body. The only logical strategy now is to try to make sure that good streams remain good streams. Which salamanders have four legs, a flat head, a paddle-like tail, beady little eyes and are called names like "snot otter" and "devil dog"? No, you should not own any of these salamanders as pets. This strategy makes hellbenders especially vulnerable to overcollection. long. Built for Water. A member of the family Cryptobranchidae, the hellbender is the only extant member of the genus Cryptobranchus. It is clear, however, that hellbenders have declined in many stream over the past few decades and they are gone from large areas where good habitat probably once existed. The hellbender grows up to 29 inches long, making it earth’s third-largest salamander. A separate population occurs in east-central Missouri. It reaches impressive lengths of up to 29 in. The Huge Hellbender Salamander, or 'Snot Otter,' Needs Our Help. T he hellbender, also known as the hellbender salamander, is an aquatic giant salamander that lives in the eastern part of North America. Some chemicals, including certain pesticides, are known to indirectly affect the reproduction of some animal species. Hellbenders mainly eat crayfish but they will also take other invertebrates and fish when available. Unfortunately, biologists don’t have much baseline data to go on – we don’t know how widespread hellbender populations were in the past because no one was studying hellbender populations in the 17- or 1800’s, or even into most of the 1900’s for that matter. Hellbender Salamander Despite its name, the hellbender is no hell-raising monster, but a harmless aquatic salamander. Both males and females are dark brown or black with lighter bellies, and may have dark orange spots. Giant Salamander. Wildlife Encounters For Kids: School Activities Are Vital, Hellbenders A Great Part of the Salamander Family, The Mating and Reproductive Strategies of Salamanders. Hellbender, (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis), salamander belonging to the family Cryptobranchidae (order Caudata) found in the larger, swift-flowing streams of the Ohio River system, the Susquehanna River, and other streams in the eastern and central United States.Adults grow to be 30–74 cm (12–29 inches) long and are stout-bodied and flat-headed, with a broad tail fin and wrinkled sides. Number one is the appropriately-named Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus). Hellbenders are made for life in the water. A fully aquatic species, hellbenders have inhabited the rivers of the eastern United States for the last 65 million years and are indicators of healthy streams. The hellbender is the largest salamander in North America and can grow up to two feet in length. The life span of a hellbender in wild is thought to be up to 25 years; they can live considerably longer in human care. They use their strong tails to move through the water. Hellbenders are wrongly thought to be poisonous, or they are thought to eat large amounts of game fish. Both of these ideas are purely myths. Males excavate a large nest chamber beneath a rock in preparation for breeding. This near-threatened species is protected in several states. Two subspecies of hellbenders exist in the United States. Missouri's population of endangered hellbender salamanders recently got another boost from the St. Louis Zoo, Missouri Department of Conservation and … With their flattened head and body, four short, stout legs, long rudder-like tail and very small beady eyes, they are well adapted to their swift, flowing stream habitats. The eastern hellbender is the Americas’ largest salamander. This is by far the main cause of hellbender declines! Exceeding even … The Hellbender salamander. They are "sit-and-wait" (ambush) predators and conceal themselves beneath rocks on the streambed with only their head protruding to seize crayfish and other small aquatic prey that swim by. The Eastern Hellbender. New York State lists the hellbender as a species of Special Concern. Meet the Hellbender Salamander . There are currently only five known members of the family Cryptobranchidae : the Japanese, Chinese, and South China giant salamanders, an undescribed Andrias species from eastern China, and the hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis). The Largest Salamanders in the World Conservation. Learn more about the Eastern Hellbender by clicking the link below! The hellbender salamander (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) is a unique, large-bodied amphibian that serves as an excellent water quality indicator species in Western North Carolina. Allegheny alligators. Cryptobranchus Alleganiensis. Hellbenders retain a few juvenile traits as adults, such as an absence of eyelids and open gill slits. A fully aquatic species, hellbenders have inhabited the rivers of the eastern United States for the last 65 million years and are indicators of healthy streams. Hellbender populations are declining due to pollution and the damming of streams and rivers. Aquatic - brine shrimp, bloodworms, live and frozen chopped night crawlers. Once Researchers recognize four living species in two taxonomic genuses, Cryptobranchus and Andrias.The Hellbender lives in North America, while the Chinese, South China, and Japanese species live in China and Japan, respectively. by Mark Mancini Jun 3, 2020. Who wouldn't love that face? It is thought that the larvae suffer high mortality during the first years of life, often falling prey to fish and other predators. In most cases protective status just means that hellbenders can’t be collected from the wild and that more information needs to be gathered about their status. They're wrinkly and rare, and the biggest ones can grow up to 2.5 feet long. Reduce, reuse and recycle — in that order! Making a list and checking it twice? So what’s causing the decline of hellbenders? They require cool, clear rivers and streams with little to no siltation in order to breathe and to inhabit sustainable microhabitats, and they are highly susceptible to pollution.