(see family information on Tree of Life site)
6 species in 2 genera

Aquatic paedomorphic salamanders with filamentous large, red, external gills and laterally compressed tail fins. They are distributed in Europe (Proteus, up to 200 mm) and North America (Necturus, up to 400 mm). One species of Proteus and five species of Necturus are currently recognized. The Olm, or European blind cave salamander, Proteus anguinus, is perhaps the rarest and strangest of all extant salamanders in museum collections. It has reduced eyes, pale/translucent skin, and lives in caves. Little information is available on the reproductive biology of these salamanders, although P. anguinus seems to be capable of some degree of viviparity through the birth of advanced young. Some morphological characters for this group are: 1) maxillae, prefrontals, septomaxillae, ypsiloid cartilage, and nasals absent; 2) teeth on splenial and pterygoid; 3) two pairs of larval gill slits; 4) external gills present; 5) reduction in number of toes; 6) 19 pairs of chromosomes.
Proteus anguinus
Photo by Jim McGuire
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Subfamily Necturinae (5 species)

Genus Necturus (5 species)    [subfamily Necturinae]
Necturus alabamensis AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Necturus beyeri AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Necturus lewisi AmphibiaWeb account no photos no sound/video
Necturus maculosus AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Necturus punctatus AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Subfamily Proteinae (1 species)

Genus Proteus (1 species)    [subfamily Proteinae]
Proteus anguinus AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video

Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available: (Accessed:

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