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Nature & Environment

'Swamp monster' mystery solved in Florida

By T.K. Randall
December 8, 2018 · Comment icon 3 comments

The species is surprisingly large. Image Credit: Twitter / David Steen / Pierson Hill
A mysterious salamander known as the leopard eel has finally been formally recognized as a new species.
This rarely seen creature, which can be found in the shallow freshwater marshes of Florida and Alabama, had long proven difficult to study due to its highly elusive nature.

Now though, for the first time, researchers from Sul Ross State University in Texas and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center have finally been able to describe and assign a name to this enigmatic species.

It is now known as Siren reticulata - or reticulated siren.
One of its more unusual traits is its branching external gills which appear as Christmas-tree-shaped fronds that protrude from its head. It is also remarkably large for such an elusive species.

"They are some of the biggest amphibians in the world," said ecologist and study co-author David Steen from the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. "We are surrounded by them in the southeastern United States, and we know virtually nothing about their biology."



Source: Live Science | Comments (3)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by AstralHorus 5 years ago
Beautiful! Hopefully we can keep them around, there has been a quite few species of salamander now extinct due to loss of habitat, warmer climates, or pollution.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Seti42 5 years ago
"fronds"? Those are gills, dude. Sure, they are fern-like in appearance...But amphibians don't photosynthesize through them. Imagine if your lungs/bronchial tubes were on the outside, and worked underwater. That's cool AF. This beautiful creature probably will go extinct, because climate change is bunk, according to Trump...And he's really popular. Especially in the rural southern US, where this creature lives.
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer 5 years ago
Climate change is real.  I just think the causes is misrepresented.  We've known for years the magnetic poles are shifting.  I also read something many years ago claiming the Earth's axiss is shifting slightly.  All of these factors and just the factor that the earth is still thawing from the ice age can account for the change in weather paterns.


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