Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus diastictus)
Sometimes called the eastern mud salamander, it is native to the southeastern United States. They like clear water and soft mud and debris to bury and hide in.
These salamanders lives change drastically from youth to adult. In their younger stages, they are a bright red or orange color, and eat anything their size or smaller in the water, including each other. As they grow, they open their diets to insects and mites on land. Adults will tend to be a darker, rusteir red with more spots. Females are generally larger than the males. They can grow up to about 6 inches. Females may not be sexually mature until 4 or 5 years.
These salamander are different from their close relatives, the red salamander. Unlike their cousins, the mud salamanders are stalkier, and they have black eyes instead of yellow.
Their numbers are rapidly decreasing and people are not able to do many studies on this species becuase they are difficult to find. Causes of critical endangerment are not verified, and are currently being investigated in areas with especially vulnerable populations like Virginia.