• (noun): A large aquatic salamander (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) of the eastern and central United States. Also called mudpuppy.

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  • (noun): large salamander of North American rivers and streams

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The hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis), also known as the hellbender salamander, is a species of aquatic giant salamander endemic to eastern North America. A member of the family Cryptobranchidae, the hellbender is the only member of the genus Cryptobranchus, and is joined only by one other genus of salamanders (Andrias, which contains the Japanese and Chinese giant salamanders) at the family level. The hellbender, which is much larger than all other salamanders in its geographic range, employs an unusual means of respiration (which involves cutaneous gas exchange through capillaries found in its dorsoventral skin folds), and fills a particular niche — both as a predator and prey — in its ecosystem, which either it or its ancestors have occupied for around 65 million years. The species is listed as Near Threatened.

Example Sentences

  • Reaching lengths of over two feet in length and weighing over 3 lbs., the hellbender is the largest amphibian species found in North America and the third largest salamander in the world, coming in behind the Chinese and the Japanese giant salamanders which are truly massive.

  • As the continent's largest frog species and second largest amphibian the hellbender is the largest, bullfrogs are powerful predators that will eat anything smaller than themselves that they can fit down their large mouths.

  • A newt -- aka a hellbender or mud puppy -- is a slimy amphibian with an uncanny ability to reinvent itself by regenerating limbs, eyes, jaws, a spinal cord, even its heart.

  • Salamanders, which thrive in moist environments that keep their skin wet, number 2 dozen species, from the pigmy salamander that is less than 2 inches at maturity to the hellbender, which is nearly 30 inches.

  • There are three types left on the planet-the Japanese and Chinese giant salamanders and a much smaller American giant salamander called the hellbender

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