Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hellbenders object of first-time research in Ky.

It's a slimy, living, breathing (through its skin) sausage with legs, toes, and a face only a mother could love. Want that creature in your fishing boat?

This thing from the deep is a hellbender, a type of salamander that also goes by the unflattering names of "grampus" or "snot otter" (it secretes mucus when handled). Its scientific name, according to, is Cryptobranchus alleganiensis. Kevin Kelly reports for The Cincinnati Enquirer on the first-ever survey of these reptiles by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.  "There’s been a lot of interest recently looking at hellbender conservation because where surveys have been done we’ve noticed very large declines," Greg Lipps, a herpetologist from Delta, Ohio, told Kelly. The salamanders may qualify for federal protection as an endangered species.

The eastern hellbenders, which are harmless to humans and are often confused with mudpuppies, are measured and examined for abnormalities and disease. A small microchip also is placed under the skin in an effort to track them. (Read more)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Surely it isn't right to call these giant salamanders reptiles? I thought salamanders were amphibians.