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A New Species Of Legless Salamander Was Just Discovered In Florida--And It's Pretty Freaky Looking 😮

@AlongsideWild (Twitter), @gaileyfrey (Twitter)

If you are still wondering about Fantastic Beasts and where, exactly, you can find them, the answer is Florida.


"It was basically this mythical beast."

That is how Dr. David A. Steen of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center described the creature.

The creature is called Siren reticulata, or Reticulated Siren. Some are calling it a leopard eel, even though it is not an eel at all.

This mysterious creature was originally discovered by Steen in 2009 when he was trapping turtles at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

After its discovery, attempts were made to find more of these creatures, but none were successful until June 8, 2014.

On that date, 3 more were discovered in a freshwater marsh in Walton County, Florida.

However, it was not until the beginning of this month that the creature was revealed through a paper by several scientists, including Steen, in Plos.

The authors of the paper described the Reticulated Siren.

"S. reticulata has an elongate, eel-like body shape, two forelimbs, no eyelids, a lateral line, enlarged external gill fimbriae associated with gill slits, and a horny beak in place of the premaxillary teeth typical of other salamanders."

The so-called leopard eel has only been found in the aforementioned Florida locations and the Fish River near Baldwin County, Alabama.

Dr. Steen spoke to National Geographic to explain why the S. reticulata is so unique.

"What immediately jumps out about the reticulated siren that makes it so different from currently-recognized species is its dark and reticulated [or net-like] pattern. It also seems as though they have a disproportionally-smaller head, as compared to other sirens."

Steen and his colleagues hope to learn more about their new discovery.

"We hope the data we present here inspire others to prioritize further study of this group of fascinating amphibians and fund associated research."

The discovery has piqued the interest of science lovers of all ages.





Others are not thrilled at the idea of another creature slithering through the waters of Florida and Alabama.





Whether slimy creatures fascinate or disgust you, it is hard to argue the fact science is pretty cool.