Zoo Animals

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.


The narrow-striped dwarf siren is the smallest of the three siren species found in the southeastern United States. Generally, it is black, brown or gray. Its dark, slender body typically has faint yellow or tan stripes on the sides. It has a triangular head, feathery external gills and three toes on its two legs, which are located in the front of its body.

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.