Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Subclass: Lissamphibia Order:
Caudata Family: Sirenidae

Genus/species: Siren intermedia

Lesser Siren 3273984118_c0a5f9f844_b GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Adults: length to 25 cm (10 inches). Eel-like appearance, tiny eyes , external gills, minute front legs with 4 toes on each foot, rear legs lacking.The dorsal pattern that is usually an olive-green to grayish blue or black. Some individuals may have scattered spots on the dorsal surface.The ventral surface is lighter in color, a light gray color. Larvae black with red markings.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Southeast USA. Totally aquatic. Inhabit shallow, heavily vegetated freshwater lakes, marshes and swamps, often buried in mud or sand. DIET IN THE WILD: Benthic nocturnal feeders upon insect larvae, crayfish, worms, snails and small fish. Mouth lacks teeth; prey is crunched by siren’s horny beak and swallowed whole. Lesser Siren 4311989994_40f3fbda9e_b CONSERVATION STATUS : Threatened in Texas due to drainage of wetlands. Due to degradation of habitat, likely threatened elsewhere.

REMARKS: Able to estivate when their ponds dry up. The mucous coat covering their skin hardens into a parchment-like cocoon covering the body, excepting the mouth. When grasped by humans, vocalize yelps.

Lesser Siren aka Mud Siren Siren intermedia (Sirenidae)  IMG_3147