Western Lesser Siren (Siren intermedia nettingi)

Description: A long, eel like salamander with bushy external gills, a flattened tail, and tiny front legs (and no hind legs). Color is gray, brown, or olive. Adults are 7 to 19.7 inches (118 to 50 cm) long.

Western Lesser Siren
Photo © Jim Harding

Habitat/Habits: In Michigan, known only from shallow lake edges in Allegan and Van Buren counties. Still, muddy waters with abundant plant growth are preferred habitats. Sirens can move overland in damp weather to colonize new habitats. They eat small invertebrate animals, including insects, crayfish, and snails.

Breeding: Mating habits are poorly known. Two hundred or more eggs are laid by the female, in shallow bottom depressions. Larvae mature in about 2 to 3 years.

Conservation: Sirens have not been seen in Michigan for many years, but are secretive and easily over looked. Primary range extends from northern Indiana to the U.S. Gulf coast and Florida. Report any Michigan sightings of this species to the DNR Wildlife Division.