A quick species profile while it’s on my mind:
I spent an evening this week with old herping buddies of mine, Donald Filipiak (Check out his photography – RainforestDon.com ), and Josh Young in search of aquatic herps. Typically, this is undergone by trapping them out of their territory (Dip netting,minnow traps, etc.) but we met them in their own habitat and walked for a good bit through some shallow Everglades ponds. Many of the species here are rarely seen, but actually quite common: especially the Greater Siren (Siren lacertina.) Many people have never seen a siren before, and if they had they probably mistook it for an eel. But the Greater Siren is no eel – it is, in fact, a large Salamander.
Preying on smaller invertebrates, especially crayfish, these abundant salamander likely amount to a large force in aquatic food chains, though they can often be overlooked. They look similar to the less-abundant (in area’s I’ve searched, at least) Amphiuma, but can easily be distinguished by the presence of external gills. Interestingly enough, Sirens and Amphiumas make up the vast majority of the food for one of my favorite snakes: that Eastern Mudsnake.
Often overlooked by the casual herper, salamanders such as the Greater Siren are living proof that “There are more things in Heaven and Earth…Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”