Greater Siren

The Greater Siren (Siren lacertina), is an eel-like amphibian. They are found from Washington D.C. to Florida. They are nocturnal and adults spend much of the day under debris and rocks or burrowed in mud or thick vegetation. Young are often seen amid water hyacinth roots.

It is the largest of the Sirens, growing to between 19 and 38 inches in length. They range in color from black to brown, and have a lighter gray or yellow underbelly. Younger Sirens also have a light stripe along their side, which goes away with age. They have large gills and no hind legs. The front legs, each with four toes, are so small that they can be hidden in the gills.

Although the Greater Siren may sometimes eat vegetation, it is mostly carnivorous and will eat annelid worms, insects, snails, and small fish. They have a Lateral line sense organ for finding prey. Adults are sometimes caught at night by bait fishermen. When drought strikes the sirens aestivate in mud burrows and their bodies secrete a moisture-sealing cocoon over the body.

Females lay eggs between February and March, as many as to 500. The eggs hatch two months later. The method of egg fertilization is currently unknown.