New giant salamander species discovery in Florida, USA


This 2016 video from Spartanburg Science Center in the USA is called One of our sirens eating an earthworm.

From National Geographic in the USA:

New species of giant salamander discovered in Florida

Scientists have discovered a two-foot-long salamander species in Florida and Alabama that has the spots of a leopard and the body of an eel.

By Jason Bittel

December 5, 2018

There have been whispers for decades that a creature with the spots of a leopard and the body of an eel lurked in the swamps of Florida and Alabama. Rumor had it the animal was as long as a man’s arm, with glistening gray skin, and frills on either side of its face.

But unlike Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, this animal is real. And today scientists have given it a name: the reticulated siren.

“It was basically this mythical beast,” says David Steen, a wildlife ecologist at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and co-author of a paper officially describing the new species published December 5 in the journal PLOS ONE. Informally, people have called it the leopard eel, though it is clearly not an eel (and zero parts big cat).

Sirens are among the world’s largest salamanders—and this species, also known as scientifically as Siren reticulata, grows up to two feet in length. Like other members of the Sirenidae family, these creatures are completely aquatic, Steen says.

Unlike most salamanders, sirens have lost their hindlimbs through millions of years of evolution. They wear their gills on the outside, which absorb oxygen from water in the murky ecosystems they inhabit. Sirens also lack eyelids and sport tiny, horny beaks instead of teeth.

The new species is one of the largest creatures to be described in the United States in over 100 years. And it could have gone longer. Steen says it took about five years of searching ponds and waterways in the Florida panhandle before they could come up with enough specimens to describe the species.

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One thought on “New giant salamander species discovery in Florida, USA

  1. Pingback: New giant salamander species discovery in FloridaSA — Dear Kitty. Some blog | huggers.ca

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