Other Amphibian of the Week

Lesser Siren (Siren intermedia)

Siren_intermedia_2
photo by Stan Shebs

leastconcern
Common Name: Lesser Siren
Scientific Name: Siren intermedia
Family: Sirenidae
Location: Mexico and the USA
US Locations: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia
Size: 27 inches long

Like all members of the Siren family, the Lesser Siren lacks hind legs but still have forelimbs. They also retain their gills throughout their whole life. The Lesser Siren is a mostly aquatic species, found living in swamps, bogs, and ponds. If their ponds dry up, they can burrow down into the mud and form a cocoon to prevent them from drying up.

The Lesser Siren has a few subspecies that are recognized. The Western Lesser Siren (Siren i. nettingi) is found from central Texas to Alabama and up to the Mississippi Valley. It is more olive to gray in color. The Eastern Lesser Siren (Siren i. intermedia) is found from Alabama to Viriginia. It is darker in color and the smallest of the subspecies. The Rio Grande Lesser Siren (S. i. texana) is found in the Rio Grande Valley area. There is a debate over if the Rio Grade Lesser Siren is an actual subspecies.

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