-- Last Updated: Sep-16-13 10:43 PM EST --
... are noteworthy in being a "perpetual larva", that is, they keep the same body form throughout their life, rather than undergoing an obvious metamorphasis like most other salamanders. There are several related species that are smaller than the well-known mudpuppy, and they are called, appropriately enough, "waterdogs".
By the way, lacking external gills, hellbenders absorb oxygen from the water via their skin, which is why it has a prominent fold down the length of each side (increases surface area).
Oh, now I see that Ginny already said most of this. Oh well.
As to mudpuppies being "ugly", well, that's in the eye of the beholder. I've always thought they were pretty neat-looking in their own way, and I've kept them in aquariums before (had one individual for more than ten years), and they are "beautiful" in the way they are adapted for what they do - extremely efficient and graceful creatures, actually.
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