Cold weather and near-freezing water temperatures stimulate Neuse River Waterdogs to find mates. These aquatic salamanders hide under rocks and in holes during warm weather, when predatory fish are active. A species of special concern in North Carolina, the seven- to ten-inch amphibians live only in the Neuse and Tar River basins. Why do they live in such a restricted range? Museum researchers discovered that Neuse River Waterdogs have a different number of chromosomes from other waterdogs, and are biochemically different. Because of their sensitivity to low oxygen and polluted waters, they’re found in relatively clean, flowing streams that don’t dry up during droughts.
Neuse River Waterdog fact sheet - PDF from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
Neuse River Waterdog on eNature.com - Information from the National Wildlife Federation's online nature resouce.
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photo left: Ray Ashton; photo right: Ken Taylor, NC Wildlife