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Narrow-striped dwarf siren

Narrow-striped dwarf siren

Pseudobranchus axanthus

At the Detroit Zoo

Commonly mistaken for an eel, the narrow-striped dwarf siren is actually a salamander. This aquatic animal is a perennibranch, meaning it maintains gills throughout its entire life. The dwarf siren can be seen at the award-winning National Amphibian Conservation Center – a leader in amphibian conservation and research – which houses a spectacular diversity of frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians.


Narrow-striped dwarf sirens are the smallest of the three siren species found in the southeastern United States. Generally, they are black, brown or gray. Their dark, slender bodies typically have faint yellow or tan stripes on the sides. They have triangular heads, feathery external gills and three toes on their two legs, which are located at the front of their bodies.

Fun Facts

  • Breeding narrow-striped dwarf sirens in captivity is incredibly difficult and requires changing the ion content of the water to mimic dilution from rainfall. Since 2017, several dwarf sirens have successfully hatched at the Detroit Zoo.

  • This particular species is found exclusively in Florida.

  • To survive the dry season or drought, adult dwarf sirens can remain dormant in muddy soil for periods longer than two months.