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Thu Dec 6, 2018, 03:40 AM

Scientists Have Captured a Giant, 'Mythical' Siren Species in Florida

Scientists Have Captured a Giant, 'Mythical' Siren Species in Florida

Salamanders are, by their very nature, slippery creatures. Perhaps none so slippery as the mysterious 'leopard eel' - an amphibian spotted intermittently in the waters of Florida over the last few decades that somehow managed to elude scientific study.

Until now, that is. Ecologist Sean Graham of Sul Ross State University in Texas and colleagues have finally managed to locate and observe the mythical beast, and it's one of the strangest salamanders ever seen.

It's called Siren reticulata (the reticulated siren), and it belongs to a rare genus of giant salamanders called Sirenidae.

Like other members of the genus, it's large, coming in at 61 centimetres (two feet), and it has a body more like an eel than a salamander - long and sinuous, with only a single pair of front legs.


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Reply Scientists Have Captured a Giant, 'Mythical' Siren Species in Florida (Original post)
Judi Lynn Dec 6 OP
csziggy Friday #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2018, 12:57 AM

1. I hadn't heard of giant siren salamanders until last February

When I caught photos of a Great Blue Heron eating one at the Circle B Bar Reserve south of Lakeland, Florida:

As you can see, that one was not as fancy as this new species, but I think a bit larger than they describe. Great blues are about three to four and a half feet tall. The siren this bird caught long enough the bird had trouble holding it up:

It took the poor heron several tries to swallow it

After getting it down, it took off like an over-loaded plane, barely clearing the path where I stood and coming close enough I could feel the wind off its wings.

It's neat to hear about yet another version of this mysterious swamp creature! Thanks, Judi Lynn!

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