Scary-looking Salamander Species Discovered In Florida

Posted: Dec 15 2018, 2:58am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Scary-looking Salamander Species Discovered in Florida

Reticulated Siren is among the largest species discovered in the United States in the last century.

A new, giant species of salamander has been recently described in journal PLOS ONE. The new salamander is around two feet long and has a body of an eel with leopard-like spots. It has been named Siren reticulata or the Reticulated Siren and is known for only few specimens found in North America.

In 2009, a single individual of the Siren reticulata species was captured when a researcher was trapping turtles within Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The last three specimens were collected in a freshwater marsh adjacent to Lake Jackson in June 2014. Siren reticulata is genetically distinct from all known species of genus Sirens. It is the first one of this family described since 1944 and is among the largest species found in United States in over 100 years.

“Sirens are abundant throughout the southern United States and are among the world’s largest amphibians, yet the biology, ecology, and phylogeography of this group is poorly-known.” Authors wrote in the study.

It had long been assumed that eel-like salamanders with an unusual pattern lurk in the swamps of Florida and Alabama. But the species remained unknown to science until now.

Siren reticulata is seemingly restricted to few locations. To date, it is only confirmed from three localities: Eglin AFB in Florida's Okaloosa County, Lake Jackson and in the Fish River near Baldwin County, Alabama. Due to species’ apparently limited distribution, little is known of Siren reticulata’s natural history and ecology.

“It has been decades since the first individual was collected and suspected to be an undescribed species; clearly this long delay has set back our understanding of these animals. Second, the species apparently occurs within a global biodiversity hotspot,” Study says. “Given that much of their known habitats include wetlands embedded within the imperiled longleaf pine ecosystem it is possible that S. reticulata is of conservation concern and it is difficult to afford formal protections to species that are not formally recognized.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.

 

 

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