Sirens are enigmatic, fully aquatic salamanders found in freshwater wetland habitats. Siren intermedia intermedia (Eastern Lesser Siren) occurs along the East Coast of the United States from Alabama to Virginia. Surveys near the northeastern range edge of the subspecies at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia from 1995 to 1999 documented 53 Eastern Lesser Sirens in 5 wetlands. In 2015, 13 individuals were found, documenting persistence at 4 of these wetlands; none were found in 4 additional wetlands with habitat that appeared appropriate. The size distribution of captured individuals was similar for the 2 survey periods. Captured individuals in 2015 were screened for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a fungal pathogen ubiquitous in aquatic habitats of the southeast and mid-Atlantic. No Bd was detected on these individuals, despite the presence of Bd on other amphibians at Fort A.P. Hill. Further investigations of the Eastern Lesser Siren populations in this area would provide important information about the persistence of this species in the region and provide more insight into the biology of this elusive salamander.
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Vol. 26 • No. 2