Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several large North American salamanders of the genus Necturus, especially N. maculosus, that live in damp regions and have conspicuous clusters of dark red external gills. Also called water dog.
  • n. See hellbender.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An aquatic salamander of the family Proteidae.

Etymologies

mud +‎ puppy, because of its barking sound. (Wiktionary)

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  • The Mudpuppies are a family of aquatic salamanders.

    The mudpuppy family, Proteidae, is divided into two genera - the mudpuppies proper, Necturus with six North American species, and Proteus with one European species. They represent an ancient group, dating from the time of the dinosaurs.

    In contrast to more familiar amphibians such as frogs, mudpuppies never lose their gills during maturation from the tadpole into the adult stage-- beneficial since they will spend their entire lives underwater.
    _Wikipedia

    February 11, 2008