Animals
Animal World - Reptiles and Amphibians

In this segment I will write about the different reptiles and amphibian's, then give a couple facts about them. I hope you like it!

Giant Salamander Family

Hellbender
(Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)

Description: Twelve to twenty nine and an eighth of an inch. A giant among salamanders. Aquatic. The body and head are flattened. Loose flap of skin along the lower sides of the body. There is a single pair of circular gill openings on the neck. Gray or olive coloring above, with or without dark mottling or spotting. The belly is lighter, with few markings. The male is smaller than the female. The male has a swollen ridge around the vent during breeding season.

Breeding: Begins in late August and ends in early September in the North; September to early November in the South. At night the males prepare a saucer-shaped nest cavity beneath some large, flat rocks or submerged logs. The female lays two hundred to five hundred yellowish eggs in long strings, forming tangled mass; the male positions himself beside or above her and sprays milt. The male guards the nest. Larvae hatch in two to three months at one and a sixteenth of an inch.

Habitat: Clear fast-flowing streams and rivers with rocky bottoms.

Range: Southwest New York to North Alabama and Georgia. Separate populations in Missouri and in Susquehanna River.

Secretive. They dwell among water-hyacinth roots and amid debris at pond bottom, feeding on tiny invertebrates. During droughts they encase themselves in mud beneath the pond bottom. When caught, they make faint yelping noises.


Siren Family

Dwarf Siren
(Pseudobranchus striatus)

Description: four to nine and seven eighths of an inch. Smallest in the siren family. Aquatic, gilled throughout it's whole lifetime. Slender and eel-like. Brown or light gray above, with light stripes on the sides of it's body. It has external gills, with a single gill slit. It has three toes on it's forefeet. It's tail is finned with a compressed tip. Costal grooves.

Breeding: In spring. Eggs laid singly on roots of some water plants. The larvae hatch about one month later at five eighths of an inch.

Habitat: Shallow ditches, cypress swamps, weed-choked ponds, especially water hyacinth.

Range: Coastal plain of South Carolina and Georgia. Florida, except w. panhandle.

Lesser Siren
(Siren intermedia)

Description: Seven to twenty seven inches. Aquatic. Slender, eel-like body. Brown, gray, or blackish above, sometimes with dark spotting. External gills, three gill slits, and four toes on the front limbs. The tail is compressed, with fin. The tail tip is pointed. The male is larger than the female. Costal grooves.

Breeding: Nests in winter and early spring. The female lays about two hundred eggs in a sheltered cavity. The hatching larvae are one and a half inches. They mature in two years.

Habitat: Warm, shallow, quiet waters, swamps, sloughs, and weedy ponds.

Range: Coastal plain from southeast North Carolina to c. Florida,, west to parts of Texas and Oklahoma, north to southwest Michigan.

Greater Siren
(Siren lacertina)

Description: Nineteen and three fourths to thirty eight and one half of an inch. Aquatic; stout, eel-like body. Gray or olive above, sometimes with dark spots on it's head, back, and sides. The sides are lighter, with many faint greenish-yellow dashes and blotches. It has external gills, three gill slits. Four front toes on limbs. Tail compressed, with fin; it's tail tip is rounded. Costal grooves.

Breeding: The eggs are laid in February to March. The larvae hatch in April to May. When they hatch, they are five eighths of an inch long.

Habitat: Shallow, muddy-bottomed, weed-choked water.

Range: Coastal plain from District of Columbia south through Florida, s. Alabama.

Greater Sirens are nocturnal. Sirens spend the day under debris or rocks, burrowed in mud or thick vegetation. Young are often seen amid water-hyacinth roots. Adults are sometimes caught at night by bait fishermen. When drought dries up their habitat, sirens aestivate in mud burrows; their skin glands secrete a moisture-sealing cocoon over the body. They eat snails, insect larvae, small fish, and aquatic plants. Captive longevity about twenty-five years.




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Animal World - Reptiles and Amphibians (Animals)    -    Author : Callista - USA


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