Description: Ranging from 11.5 to 15.9 cm (4.5 - 6.25
in.), the dwarf waterdog is the smallest species in the genus
Necturus. It has a brown, gray, or black dorsum
with no conspicuous markings, and a whitish throat. The
dark dorsum coloration extends to the sides of the belly, and
the center of the belly is white. It has four toes on each
foot, and reddish external gills.
Range and Habitat: Dwarf waterdogs inhabit slow, sluggish
streams and swamps in the Southeastern Coastal Plain with abundant
leaf litter and debris substrates. They can also be found in flooded
fields and irrigation ditches. They are particularly common in
"blackwater" cypress streams.
Habits: These salamanders are opportunistic feeders, preying
on mostly aquatic insects, crustaceans, and worms. Hatchlings
appear in fall, so it is assumed that eggs are laid in spring.
They have a life span of over 10 years.
Conservation status: Locally common.
Meffe, G. K. and A. L. Sheldon. 1987. Habitat use by dwarf waterdogs
(Necturus punctatus) in South Carolina streams, with life
history notes. Herpetologica 43(4): 490-496.
Account Author: Aaliyah Greene, University of Georgia
- revised by J.D. Willson