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Salamander species identified: The creature lives in swamps and marshes in Florida and Alabama

The green salamander has open-hearted, cool external jaws on the head, two front arms, a long eel-like body and no hind legs. It has been called a Leopard needle because of the pattern of stains on its body, but the researchers call it a Reticulated Siren in a paper recently published in the magazine PLOS ONE. Siren is a type of large salamander that is completely aquatic. Biologist Sean Graham, professor at Sul Ross State University in Texas, and leading author of the paper, said that most sirens are typical "boring" with matte brown or olive-green skin that blends with the mud and muck where they live. "This really has spectacular color … it has the reticulated chain pattern across the back and sides," Graham said. "When I saw one for the first time, I was kinda aware that it was so unusual to look in comparison with other sirens." They also grow to at least two meters long, making it one of the largest vertebrates identified in North America for a century, Graham said. "The larger species are more obvious and more likely to be found" said. "We do not find new big things like that anymore." He said it is likely that the salamanders are difficult to catch. "They spend their time in the soft soup at the bottom of these ponds," he said. "From time to time you can see them swimming in the dust column of the water at night, but mostly they are buried in…

The green salamander has open-hearted, cool external jaws on the head, two front arms, a long eel-like body and no hind legs. It has been called a Leopard needle because of the pattern of stains on its body, but the researchers call it a Reticulated Siren in a paper recently published in the magazine PLOS ONE.

Siren is a type of large salamander that is completely aquatic.

Biologist Sean Graham, professor at Sul Ross State University in Texas, and leading author of the paper, said that most sirens are typical “boring” with matte brown or olive-green skin that blends with the mud and muck where they live.

“This really has spectacular color … it has the reticulated chain pattern across the back and sides,” Graham said. “When I saw one for the first time, I was kinda aware that it was so unusual to look in comparison with other sirens.”

They also grow to at least two meters long, making it one of the largest vertebrates identified in North America for a century, Graham said.

“The larger species are more obvious and more likely to be found” said. “We do not find new big things like that anymore.”

He said it is likely that the salamanders are difficult to catch.

“They spend their time in the soft soup at the bottom of these ponds,” he said. “From time to time you can see them swimming in the dust column of the water at night, but mostly they are buried in clay.”

Graham first heard of them in 2001 and was looking for them successfully, in his spare time while at primary school.

He joined with his friend and co-author David Steen and their work began seriously in 2009, when Steen took a while and caught turtles at the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

They continued searching for years, but did not catch until 2014 when they caught three in one night.

It gave them enough tests to make the description.

Graham said that most of the newly-described animals have been small freshwater fish or salamanders. He has no doubt that there are many more species out there, and biologists may not have to go too far to find them.

Graham said that North America has more different kinds of salamanders than anywhere else in the world.

“In the United States we think of grizzly bears and bald eagles as our typical species,” he said. “But we probably should probably believe in salamanders as something we are proud of here.”


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