Anybody have any experience with these odd creatures? I'm buying land in New Mexico, which is really far from their native habitat, and I saw one in the pond. Never seen anything like it! Turns out they're used for fish bait here so I'm thinking one got away and made it's way into my tiny little pond in the high desert. It could be a tiger salamander or a mud puppy, but it was about a foot long, and definitely had the strange, wavy gills.
The pond they're in is at the bottom of the property, and is currently used to water livestock. There are several other former pond sites that could be fairly easily turned into ponds again. I plan on having several ponds as my property has a lot of catchment from neighboring properties that can be taken advantage of. I don't want the mud puppies spreading into my stocking pond, as I've read that they'll eat just about any other fish, earthworm, etc.
Besides it showing that the property is healthy enough to support this type of creature in the high desert, I'm not sure if they're a good thing, or a problem I need to turn into a solution.
Anybody in their native range out east have any uses, experience, or thoughts?
I could be mistaken, yet what you saw was probably not a Mud puppy (Necturus maculosus) but a form of other salamander that is the aquatic stage of a the Tiger salamander. These often don't turn to the adult stage and some population can even breed in this aquatic stage.
E. J. Callanan : As far as I know they are still servicing in the pools and marshes of the waters of Mexico City, where they can live for decades and get very big !
Generally they are thought to be indicators of high water quality ! while very strong and powerful they are slow moving and mostly lie in wait for opportunistic
feeding chances ! This is Jays field of expertise, but I have never heard of them being a major disturbance to the Food Chain! Big AL
Success has a Thousand Fathers , Failure is an Orphan
They aren't mudpuppies. If they are a foot long, most likely they are Tiger Salamander larva. They are a native species in New Mexico. They won't eat all your fish, in fact they will probably provide food for your fish in the form of small larva. In some areas they are seined from ponds and sold as fish bait (water dogs). They could be a very profitable business if you figure out how to raise them as a farm animal. I raised and sold them to a niche market for several years but gave it up because I couldn't get a commercial rearing license from my state. You may have a gold mine if your state is friendly to farm businesses.
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