greater siren

Greater Siren

Siren lacertina

CLASS Amphibia | ORDER Caudata | FAMILY Sirenidae

RANGE Virginia south along the Atlantic coast through Florida and into the gulf coast of Alabama

HABITAT Ditches, streams, rivers, swamps, lakes, ponds, and some bays

DIET Crawfish, aquatic insects, worms, snails, and small fish

Can exceed 3 ft
IUCN Status
Least Concern

Th greater siren is the largest of the sirens. They are known to exceed three feet in length. These aquatic animals have long eel-like bodies and external gills. They spend most of their time buried in mud or sand. Sirens are generally regarded as the most primitive of living salamanders.

If the siren's body of water dries up it can burrow in the mud bottom and secrete a cocoon of mucus and shed skin that covers its body to prevent water loss. All body functions slow down, some by 70 percent, and it can live for more than a year, until the pond refills with water.