The southern dwarf siren can be found through most of eastern peninsular Florida. Subspecies, Pseudobranchus axanthus belli is found in the southern part of the range while Pseudobranchus axanthus axanthus is found in the northern regions.
These salamanders thrive in cypress ponds, swamps, marshes, shallow lakes, ditches, and various (semi)aquatic habitats. They are associated with water hyacinth. The reproduction is aquatic and live and breed in the same location. Females lay eggs in or among the aquatic vegetation in spring. They feed on amphipods, chironomid larvae, ostracods, and aquatic oligochaetes.
This is a slender, aquatic salamander without hind limbs. They reach an average total length of about 10 inches but its tail constitutes 2/5 of this length. This missing hind limb is a key characteristic of sirens and dwarf sirens. The eyelids are also lacking and they have a ridged beak on the jaws and only one gill slit. The front limbs have three toes which are greatly reduced and may be difficult to see. There are 29-37 costal grooves. The sexual dimorphism in this species allow females be about 28% larger than the males. The adults have a background color of brownish-black to light grey with parallel dorsal and side stripes of tan or yellow. Hatchlings are about 0.4 inches in snout-to-vent length and juveniles have a dorsal fin that runs from the head to the end of the tail.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians