Pseudobranchus striatus - (LeConte, 1824)
Northern Dwarf Siren
Other English Common Names: Dwarf Siren, northern dwarf siren
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Pseudobranchus striatus (LeConte, 1824) (TSN 173738)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.100328
Element Code: AAAAG01010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Amphibians - Salamanders
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Amphibia Caudata Sirenidae Pseudobranchus
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B85FRO01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Pseudobranchus striatus
Taxonomic Comments: Moler and Kezer (1993) conducted a karyological survey of Pseudobranchus and found two radically different karyotypes (N = 24 and N = 32). These two types were regarded as separate species, P. striatus and P. axanthus, respectively. Pseudobranchus striatus was regarded as including three subspecies (striatus, spheniscus, and lustricolus ), and P. axanthus was considered as including two subspecies (axanthus and belli).

Phylogenetic and population genetic analyses of allozyme data confirm the validity of the two currently recognized species of Pseudobranchus (Pseudobranchus axanthus from peninsular Florida and Pseudobranchus striatus from central and northern Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina) (Liu et al. 2004). In concert with biogeographic data for other freshwater taxa, these analyses further support the recognition of western, southeastern, and northeastern phylogeographic groups within P. striatus (Liu et al. 2004). According to Liu et al. (2004), the western group corresponds well with Pseudobranchus striatus spheniscus, but it also extends south along the Gulf Coast at least as far as Hernando County, Florida, and thus encompasses the reported range of Pseudobranchus striatus lustricolus (Martof 1972). However, all samples from this area examined by Liu et al. (2004) conform to the description of P. s. spheniscus and differ markedly from that of P. s. lustricolus. Pseudobranchus striatus lustricolus is based on a series of specimens that were collected in 1950 and 1951 from two localities in west-central Florida. However, since then, this subspecies has not been collected, and so its taxonomic status remains uncertain.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 23Sep2005
Global Status Last Changed: 13Nov2001
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Secure, though the range is confined to a relatively small portion of the southeastern U.S.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Nov1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Florida (S5), Georgia (SNR), South Carolina (S2)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Coastal Plain in southern South Carolina, southern Georgia, and northern Florida (Moler and Kezer 1993). Subspecies lustricolus: reliably reported from only 3 localities in Levy and Citrus counties, Florida; has not been collected since the original description of the subspecies (Moler 1992).

Number of Occurrences: Unknown

Population Size: Unknown

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Habitat loss and fragmentation as a result of development, agriculture, and silviculture may be responsible for a decline in South Carolina (S. Bennett).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Narrow to moderate.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)) Coastal Plain in southern South Carolina, southern Georgia, and northern Florida (Moler and Kezer 1993). Subspecies lustricolus: reliably reported from only 3 localities in Levy and Citrus counties, Florida; has not been collected since the original description of the subspecies (Moler 1992).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States FL, GA, SC

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: IUCN, Conservation International, NatureServe, and collaborators, 2004


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Citrus (12017)*, Levy (12075)*
GA Atkinson (13003)*, Baker (13007), Bryan (13029), Bulloch (13031)*, Camden (13039)*, Charlton (13049), Chatham (13051)*, Clinch (13065)*, Colquitt (13071)*, Echols (13101)*, Effingham (13103)*, Evans (13109), Glynn (13127)*, Lanier (13173), Lee (13177)*, Liberty (13179), Long (13183), Lowndes (13185), Thomas (13275)*, Ware (13299), Wayne (13305)
SC Charleston (45019)*, Hampton (45049), Jasper (45053), Orangeburg (45075)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Santee (03050112)+*, Four Hole Swamp (03050206)+, Broad-St. Helena (03050208)+, Lower Savannah (03060109)+, Calibogue Sound-Wright River (03060110)+, Lower Ogeechee (03060202)+*, Canoochee (03060203)+, Ogeechee Coastal (03060204)+, Altamaha (03070106)+, Satilla (03070201)+*, Little Satilla (03070202)+, Cumberland-St. Simons (03070203)+*, St. Marys (03070204)+, Crystal-Pithlachascotee (03100207)+*, Withlacoochee (03100208)+*, Waccasassa (03110101)+*, Aucilla (03110103)+*, Upper Suwannee (03110201)+, Alapaha (03110202)+, withlacoochee (03110203)+*, Upper Ochlockonee (03120002)+*, Kinchafoonee-Muckalee (03130007)+*, Ichawaynochaway (03130009)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: An eel-like salamander.
General Description: A slender, eel-like salamander with no hind limbs, large external gills (larvae and adults), three toes on each forelimb, forelimbs less than half as long as the head, and one gill slit on each side on the neck (Smith 1978). Color pattern includes distinct stripes, including wide lateral stripes that are buff, tan, or orange-brown, and a gray to black venter with scattered pale spots (Moler and Kezer 1993). Total length to about 25 cm.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Differs from greater and lesser sirens (SIREN sp.) in having three toes rather than four toes on each forelimb; also, SIREN species lack stripes. Differs from AMPHIUMA in having stripes, lacking hind limbs, and in being smaller. Differs from P. AXANTHUS in having N=24 chromosomes rather than N=32 chromosomes (Moler and Kezer 1993).
Reproduction Comments: Lays clutch of more than 100 widely spaced eggs in spring; hatching occurs about a month later. Paedomorphic.
Ecology Comments: Capable of both aerial and aquatic respiration; may surface for air if oxygen levels in water are low, as in common among water hyacinths (Ultsch 1971). Predators include semiaquatic snakes (especially black swamp snakes, SEMINATRIX PYGAEA), fishes, and wading birds (Ultsch 1971; Moler, pers. comm.).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, TEMPORARY POOL
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Generally this species inhabits cypress and gum swamps (Liu et al. (2004). In the area of sympatry with P. axanthus, P. striatus occurs in cypress ponds in areas of acid pine flatwoods (Moler and Kezer 1993). Usually found in thick vegetation (e.g., floating mats of frog's bit, LIMNOBIUM SPONGIA) or in bottom mud and debris. Burrows into and estivates in mud bottom when ponds dry up.

Subspecies lustricolus: may be essentially restricted to wetlands within the narrow strip of hydric hardwood hammock along the Gulf Coast (Moler 1992); stagnant ponds associated with cypress and flatwood ponds, drainage ditches, and smaller floodplain lakes (Neill 1951). Eggs are attached to or scattered among submerged vegetation.

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats small, slow-moving or freshly dead aquatic invertebrates, including chironomid larvae, amphipods, aquatic oligochaetes, and ostracods.
Phenology Comments: Most active in winter and early spring. May remain inactive (burrowed in substrate) for extended periods during drought. Primarily nocturnal but also may be active in daylight.
Length: 25 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Management Requirements: General pollution, and especially herbicides for killing floating vegetation, should be avoided.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Sirenid Salamanders (Sirens)

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including larvae or eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Upland habitat; other totally inappropriate habitat that the salamanders cannot traverse.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: These strictly aquatic and wetland salamanders do not traverse upland habitat, even when conditions are wet. Movements are poorly documented but, based on data from other gilled salamanders such as hellbenders, home ranges likely tend to be very small. Yet, on occasion, dispersing individuals likely travel at least a few kilometers. The separation distance for unsuitable habitat reflects the nominal minimum value of 1 km. The 10-km separation distance for suitable habitat reflects the salamanders' tendency to occur throughout patches of suitable habitat--if the salamanders occur in sites that are up to at least 10 km apart, and the sites are joined by suitable habitat, it is likely that the species occurs also in that intervening area, so joining these areas as a single occurrence generally should be appropriate. For occupied locations more than 10 km apart, existence of a single occurrence becomes increasingly uncertain.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .3 km
Date: 23Apr2001
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 23Sep2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 19Apr2005
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Bishop, S. C. 1943. Handbook of salamanders. Comstock Publishing Company, Inc., Ithaca, New York. xiv + 555 pp.

  • Blackburn, L., P. Nanjappa, and M. J. Lannoo. 2001. An Atlas of the Distribution of U.S. Amphibians. Copyright, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA.

  • Bury, R. B., C. K. Dodd, Jr., and G. M. Fellers. 1980. Conservation of the Amphibia of the United States: a review. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C., Resource Publication 134. 34 pp.

  • Conant, R. and J. T. Collins. 1991. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians: eastern and central North America. Third edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 450 pp.

  • Freeman, J. R. 1958. Burrowing in the salamanders PSEUDOBRANCHUS STRIATUS and SIREN LACERTINA. Copeia 1958:130.

  • Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.

  • Liu, F.-G. R., P. E. Moler, H. P. Whidden, and M. M. Miyamoto. 2004. Allozyme variation in the salamander genus Pseudobranchus: phylogeographic and taxonomic significance. Copeia 2004:136-144.

  • Martof, B.S. 1972. Pseudobranchus, P. striatus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. 118:1-4.

  • Moler, P. E. 1992. Gulf hammock dwarf siren PSEUDOBRANCHUS STRIATUS LUSTRICOLUS Neill. Pages 77-80 in P. E. Moler, editor. Rare and endangered biota of Florida. Vol. III. Amphibians and reptiles. Univ. Press of Florida.

  • Moler, P. E., and J. Kezer. 1993. Karyology and systematics of the salamander genus Pseudobranchus (Sirenidae). Copeia 1993:39-47.

  • Neill, W. T. 1951. A new subspecies of salamander, genus PSEUDOBRANCHUS, from the Gulf Hammock region of Florida. Publications of the Research Division of Ross Allen's Reptile Institute 1(4):39-46.

  • Petranka, J. W. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

  • Ultsch, G. R. 1971. The relationship of dissolved CO2 and O2 to microhabitat selection in PSEUDOBRANCHUS STRIATUS. Copeia 1971:247-252.

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