|Gulf Coast Waterdog|
|N. beyeri, Pearl River County, Mississippi|
This species is under some taxonomic dispute. It was once thought that N. beyeri and N. alabamensis were subspecies because they hybridize. They are now recognized as separate species. It is also thought that N. beyeri could represent a species complex and may be separated into multiple species eventually.
This medium sized waterdog is heavily spotted above, below, and on the sides. The ground color is brown, and many specimens have a yellow speckling covering the body, giving it a light appearance. Like all Necturus, this species has four toes on all feet and bright red external gills. The larvae have no stripes and are much like miniature adults in color and pattern. Adults are 16-22 cm (6-8.5 in) in length.
The western population is located in eastern Texas to adjacent Louisiana, while the eastern population is found in western Louisiana up through central Mississippi.
This waterdog is found in small to large streams with an abundance of leaf beds and cover over sandy substrates, and can be very abundant in these habitats. At some locations in Louisiana, this species is known to occur only in leaf beds situated in the portions of streams with a slower current than the rest of the stream. At other sites, this species is found beneath more substantial pieces of cover (rocks, overhangs, etc.) or in burrows. N. beyeri can be captured with dip nets and minnow traps.
This species may be affected by pollution and siltation. They are not often caught during warm weather, suggesting that they aestivate in the summer months.
Bartlett, R.D. and P. Bartlett 2006. Guide and Reference to the Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America (North of Mexico). University Press of Florida: Gainesville, Florida.
Bishop, S. C. 1943. Handbook of Salamanders. Comstock Publishing Company: Ithaca, NY.
Petranka, J. W. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institute Press: Washington DC.
Text © 2009 Ryan St. Laurent