My research paper is going to focus on the mudpuppy. I think many people like the mudpuppy because you can see them around this area. The mudpuppy is in the tank that I was taking care of. I’ll go into detail a little bit about the mudpuppy and tell some facts about where they came from and so on. Mudpuppies are native to this area so it was cool to take care of something that’s around here.
The mudpuppy to me is one of my favorite animals that live under water. The mudpuppy is related to amphibians. One thing that makes the mudpuppy different is that their gills never go away like other amphibians gills do. There gills kind of look like bushes underwater just swaying around. According to “National Geographic” they say that, “mudpuppies are easily distinguishable by their bushy, red external gills, which they grow as larva and never lose. They have flat heads, wide tails, stubby les, and feet with four distinct toes. Their bodies are gray or brownish-gray with blue- black spots” (1). They have almost all the same characteristics as salamanders do: like toes and the patterns on their bodies. According to the book “A Natural History of Amphibians” the authors Robert C. Stebbins and Nathan W. Cohen talk about the skin of amphibians and they said,
“The skin of amphibians is water permeable, well supplied with glands, and often colorful, with the colors and patterns of many salamanders and anurans rivaling those of brightly colored birds. It performs many functions. It protects against abrasion and pathogens, serves as a respiratory membrane, perhaps marginally so in caecilians, absorbs and releases water, provides some dry-land species during droughts with a water-loss-resistant cocoon, and through color change (in some species) and secretory activity may help control body temperature. In addition, poisons in the skin help protect against predators, and skin color and patterns in many species offer concealment and sometimes warn of noxious properties”(10).
It’s important to know about the skin of these animals because it is what’s helping keep this species alive. This is part of the natural history of these animals because the skin is what helps the species survive. Another aspect of the mudpuppy that I mentioned earlier is their gills. Like all amphibians, mudpuppies are born with gills, but what’s different about the mudpuppy and other amphibians is that their gills stay with them and they continue to live under water. In the book, “A Natural History of Amphibians” the authors state that,
“Larval amphibians breathe primarily with gills that are usually lost at transformation, as lungs assume their respiratory role. Some amphibians, such as permanently larval forms, retain their gills throughout life. Examples are the mudpuppies and neotenic individuals” (17).
So as this quote states mudpuppies are one of the only amphibians that keep their gills throughout their lifetime. This is important to know because it tells the history of why they...