Thursday, December 6, 2018

Scientists discover new species of giant salamander living in Florida

Posted By on Thu, Dec 6, 2018 at 4:13 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA PLOS.ORG
  • Photo via
Damn you, Florida. For all the Sunshine State's political debauchery and crooked business dealings, its natural world is admittedly cool – like the  new salamander species that was found recently in Okaloosa County.

It's one of the largest creatures to be discovered in the U.S. in more than a century, with spots similar to a leopard's and a body like an eel. Scientists dubbed the new species a "reticulated siren" (or, to be precise, Siren reticulata), according to a paper published yesterday in the journal PLOS ONE.

David Steen, a wildlife biologist at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and Sean Graham, a vertebrate zoologist at Sul Ross State University of Texas, were the researchers behind the discovery and co-authored the paper. The scientists told National Geographic that they first stumbled across the creature in 2009, though it took five years to gather similar samples.

"It's basically this mythical beast," says Steen.

Per their research, the unusual creature can grow up to two feet in length, and, like other members of the Sirenidae family, is completely aquatic, preferring to live in swamps or mud – which is why, Steen notes to the Revelator, the species may have slipped through the cracks for so long.

Read the researchers' paper for yourself.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 7, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation