Other Amphibian of the Week

Greater Siren (Siren lacertina)

Greater Siren
photo by USGS

Common Name: Greater Siren
Scientific Name: Siren lacertina
Family: Sirenidae – Siren family
Location: United State – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia
Size: 19.5 – 38 inches (50 – 98 cm)

The Greater Siren lives in ditches, canals, lakes, marshes, ponds, rivers, and streams in the Southeastern United States. It is the largest of all the sirens, with some reaching over 3 feet long. It is also one of the largest salamanders in the world, depending on how you measure. Just like all sirens, they lack hind legs, retain their gills into adulthood, and are fully aquatic. Not much is known about the biology of the Greater Siren because of their secretive nature as they hide in burrows during the day and are slightly more active during the night. If the pond that the siren calls home is drying up, they can form a cocoon around their body to stop them from drying out. Then, they just wait in this form until the rains come and refill their pond.

Greater Siren
photo by Qualiesin

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Greater Siren as Least Concern for Extinction due to the sirens wide range and presumed large population. While the overall picture for the siren is good, individual populations of the siren are threatened by increased development.

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