Added 5 March 2005.

The Family Sirenidae: Sirens

Genus Pseudobranchus - Dwarf Sirens

See Sirenidae page for introduction to the family. Pseudobranchus is essentially a smaller version of Siren but with 3 toes instead of 4. The size of the gills is dependent upon water temperature and other environmental factors. The species feeds on aquatic insects and other invertebrates. All are found in the USA.

P. axanthus, Lesser Siren P. striatus, Greater Siren  

Scientific Name Common Name Distribution Size Notes
P. axanthus Narrow-Striped Dwarf Siren NE & C Florida  4¾-7½" (12-19 cm)  Snout bluntly rounded. Coloration: "muddy" (Conant and Collins), 4 narrow and indistinct dark dorsal stripes, 2 very vague light lateral stripes.
P. striatus Dwarf Siren SE USA  4-8½"/10 -21½cm  See subspecies entries. 
P. s. striatus Broad-Striped Dwarf Siren S South Carolina, SE Georgia and extreme NE Florida Max 8"/20cm Short and stocky build. Coloration: broad, dark brown middorsal stripe with vague light vertebral line and flanked on each side by a wide yellow stripe; ventrally dark but heavily mottled with yellow.
P. s. belli Everglades Dwarf Siren S Florida Max 6"/15cm Small and slender build. Coloration: broad, dark middorsal stripe contains 3 narrow light stripes; 2 wide distinct light lateral stripes, both buff-coloured; belly grey.
P. s. lustricolus Gulf Hammock Dwarf Siren NW Florida (Gulf Hammock region) Max 8½"/21½ cm Snout blunt. Coloration: dark middorsal stripe contains 3 narrow light stripes; 2 wide distinct lateral stripes, upper orange-brown, lower silvery-white; belly black with light mottling.
P. s. spheniscus Slender Dwarf Siren S Georgia and adj. N Florida 4-6"/10- 15cm Narrow, wedge-shaped snout. Coloration: 3 narrow middorsal stripes and 2 tan or yellow lateral stripes.


A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, R Conant and J T Collins, Peterson Field Guides, Houghton Mifflin, Boston/New York 1998. Gives details of the Sirenidae.

Newts & Salamanders - a complete pet owner's manual, Frank Indiviglio, Barrons 1997. Gives details of care for the sirens.


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