The Lesser Siren, Siren intermedia

The Lesser siren (Siren intermedia) is a salamander species and a member of the Sirenidae family. The species is native to the eastern United States and northern Mexico, ranging from Virginia to Florida, west to Texas and Mexico and north to Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Common names include: the Two-legged eel, the Dwarf siren and the Mud eel.

The Lesser siren inhabits ponds, lakes, streams, bays and ditches. Interestingly, the salamander has the ability to cocoon itself in its own secretion if its water source dries up. The species may remain inactive and without water for up to a year. Another characteristic of the Lesser siren is that the species emits a screeching or clicking sound when threatened.

The Lesser siren commonly measures less than 2 feet long. While the salamander lacks hind legs, its front legs are short and each foot has four toes. Coloration is typically olive or black. The Lesser siren is nocturnal creature and spends much time burrowed and hiding under rocks, gravel and debris in muddy, shallow waters.

Breeding typically takes place in the springtime. Eggs are laid and attached to rocks and vegetation at the bottom of the pond. Anywhere from 12 to 300 eggs have reportedly been laid at one time and clutches may be deposited over the course of a year.

Image Caption: The Lesser Siren, (Siren intermedia). Credit: Stan Shebs/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)