greater siren (Siren lacertina)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHARACTERISTICS: This is an elongated, eel-like salamander

that lacks hind limbs and has a pair of virtually useless forelimbs.

The hands contain 4 digits. This species is essentially a permanent

larva. The adult is aquatic and has gills. The color is gray to olive

with many black dots over the head, sides and back with yellow

blotches on the side. The young may exhibit some striping. Adults

reach total lengths of 50-98 cm. The head is shovel-like for burrow-

ing in muddy bottoms. Reproduction is poorly documented, but it is

thought that fertilization occurs externally. Breeding occurs in spring,

and hatching probably occurs about 2 months later.

 

DISTRIBUTION: This species is found is shallow, muddy-bottom-

ed ponds, swamps, and ditches. It has been collected from shallow

roadside ditches, under rocks in swift flowing streams, weedy ponds

and pools, muddy swamps, and weed-choked and mud-bottomed

lakes.

 

FOODS: This salamander eats a variety of prey, often consuming
predominantly mollusks. Filamentous algae, crayfish, insects, and

fish are also eaten.

 

 

Back to Invntory of Amphibian Families and Species

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