"DAMASCUS, Va. -- This is a heck of a bad time for the hellbender."
"Also known as the snot otter, devil dog and Allegheny alligator, the hellbender is a slimy, mud-colored, salami-sized salamander that inspires folklore and misplaced fear.
The largest salamander in the Western Hemisphere, the hellbender has prospered in clean, cold Appalachian streams, including some in what is now Southwest Virginia, for eons, changing little since the age of dinosaurs.
And now hellbenders are dying. In Virginia and other states, scientists say, the animals have disappeared from some stream stretches."