Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Mississippi
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Dunn, C. G. (2016). Documentation of Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis (eastern hellbender) predation on nest-associate stream fishes. Northeastern naturalist, 23(3).


The covert habits of Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis (Eastern Hellbender) make direct field observations of their behavior difficult. Here I provide the first video documentation of in situ predation by a hellbender on a spawning aggregation of stream fishes. Both targeting fish and diurnal activity are behaviors rarely documented among hellbenders. The present observation, however, supports previously described patterns of elevated diurnal activity in late spring hypothesized to be associated with increased foraging-activity to meet higher energy-demands. The observation demonstrates that Eastern Hellbenders will modify behavior to exploit stream fishes when prey are easily captured.