Lesser Siren

Siren intermedia

IUCN Red List status: Least Concern

For more info on classifications, visit www.iucnredlist.org

Least Concern


Where they live

Eastern USA and northern Mexico


Shallow warm waters such as swamps, sloughs and weedy ponds


Length 18-70 cm. Tail length 8-27 cm



25+ years


Numbers generally steady across most of its range but pollution by agrichemicals and fertiliser run-off may be a threat.

Did you know...

  • Unlike most salamanders the Lesser siren is vocal
  • They emit a series of clicking sounds when they approach other sirens
  • They are named after the mythical sea nymph which lured sailors to destruction by her song.

More about lesser sirens...

The lesser siren or as it is also known the two-legged eel, dwarf siren or mud eel is a species of aquatic salamander found in the eastern United States and Northern Mexico.

The siren is a nocturnal creature spending its days hidden in the mud and debris at the bottom of slow moving bodies of water such as ponds, streams and swamps. They are carnivorous and feed on a variety of aquatic invertebrates including worms, snails and crustaceans. They will also eat the eggs and larvae of other amphibians. If its water body dries up the siren aestivates inside a cocoon of a parchment like substance secreted by the glandular skin. They can survive like this for up to 2 months.

Breeding occurs during the spring when gravid females lay 150-300 eggs which they may be attended by the female. The eggs are normally laid in nests among the roots of water plants and the larvae, which measure just 11-13 mm at birth mature after two years.

The siren is easily recognised by its elongated eel like body and two short front legs. There are external gills and four toes on each foot. Sirens in well oxygenated water breathe with their external gills and through their skin but in areas of low oxygen content they breathe using lungs and frequently surface to take breaths.

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