In search of the threatened Neuse River WaterdogPosted on February 9th, 2023
Neuse Riverkeeper Samantha Krop and Sound Rivers intern William Wallace joined field researchers this week to document the presence (or absence) of the threatened Neuse River Waterdogs at select locations in the watershed.
As it turns out, they ran across eight Neuse River Waterdogs during Thursday’s outing.
“I pulled up one single trap with five at once,” Sam said.
The Neuse River Waterdog, also known as the Carolina Mudpuppy, is found only in North Carolina. Neuse River Waterdogs inhabit rivers and larger streams, where they prefer leaf beds in quiet waters. They are carnivorous, foraging along the bottom for invertebrates, small vertebrates or carrion and are mostly active at night and during the winter, according to North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Like many other amphibians, Waterdogs produce skin secretions that are probably distasteful to some potential predators. Few records of predation are available, but they are almost certainly preyed upon by various fishes.
The waterdog was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2021. Teitsworth’s research is an effort to document and map the distribution of the species and identify the main threats to the waterdog’s existence.