Image of the Day: Hell-Bent on Repopulation

Researchers will be releasing captive-grown eastern hellbenders in southern Indiana to help raise their numbers.

Jul 23, 2018
Sukanya Charuchandra
These juvenile eastern hellbenders (Cryptobranchus aleganiensis aleganiensis), implanted with radio transmitters, will be released into Blue River in Indiana this week. 
JENNY SUTHERLAND

Scientists at Purdue University are trying to give eastern hellbenders (Cryptobranchus aleganiensis aleganiensis), the largest salamanders found in North America, a head-start on their lives. With wrinkly skin that unfolds as it breathes, the eastern hellbender can grow to be two feet long and live for more than 30 years. 

Anthropogenic causes such as habitat destruction and illegal trading have led to the salamanders being considered endangered in parts of the United States. 

To rehabilitate populations of these amphibians, researchers are raising them in laboratories for the first 3–5 years of their lives and will then be releasing them into the wild this week with implanted radio transmitters to track their whereabouts.