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mudpuppy photo

Photo by: Indiana DNR

Wild Bulletin, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fish and Wildlife: The Division of Fish & Wildlife asks anglers to report sightings of the mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus) to help biologists track their populations across the state. A Species of Special Concern in Indiana, this salamander inhabits the state’s lakes and streams.

Mudpuppies, like fish, live their entire lives in water, but they are more secretive and difficult to locate. During winter, mudpuppies move into shallow water and are more frequently caught by anglers. They may also be viewed from shore using a flashlight at night, while they walk along the lake bottom. Mudpuppies are not dangerous or poisonous. They can be identified by the red, fluffy gills on the back of their head, but the gills tend to lay flat against their body when they are out of the water.

If you catch a mudpuppy while fishing, please photograph it, cut your fishing line, and release the mudpuppy back into the water. Report your observation to the DNR herpetologist at and include a clear photograph of it, the date, and the location where it was found. The DNR appreciates your help tracking this unique salamander.

To learn more please visit DNR: Amphibians and Reptiles.

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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

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