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Greater Siren

Fact File

Scientific Name: Siren lacertina

Classification: Amphibian

Conservation Status:

Size: Up to 38 inches

Identifying Characteristics

This salamander has a pair of large feathery gills and one pair of front legs with four toes. There are 36–40 costal grooves behind the legs on each side. The body is nearly uniform olive, dark brown or almost black, sometimes with gold flecking on the head and body.


Greater Sirens occur primarily in the Coastal Plain of Virginia. They use a wide range of freshwater aquatic habitats as long as there is abundant vegetation.

Did You Know?

In 2018, a new species of siren from northern Florida and southern Alabama was formerly described: Reticulated Siren (Siren reticulata).

Role in the Web of Life

Sirens are fully aquatic and active at night; they hide in vegetation during the day. When wetlands dry, sirens form a cocoon from skin secretions and aestivate until water returns. Females lay 100–500 eggs singly or in small clusters adhered to leaf litter in late-winter and early spring. They eat a wide range of invertebrates and even algae.


Tier IV Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Virginia’s Wildlife Action Plan.

Last updated: January 19, 2024

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Species Profile Database serves as a repository of information for Virginia’s fish and wildlife species. The database is managed and curated by the Wildlife Information and Environmental Services (WIES) program. Species profile data, distribution information, and photography is generated by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, State and Federal agencies, Collection Permittees, and other trusted partners. This product is not suitable for legal, engineering, or surveying use. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources does not accept responsibility for any missing data, inaccuracies, or other errors which may exist. In accordance with the terms of service for this product, you agree to this disclaimer.