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Scientists find new species of aquatic salamander in Florida

Posted at 7:59 AM, Dec 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-07 07:59:28-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — There's a new swamp critter in Florida, and no, this isn't a political joke.

A paper published recently in the science journal PLOS ONE confirmed the existence of the reticulated siren, a new species of large, fully aquatic salamander.

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Native to the swamps of Florida's Panhandle and southern Alabama, the creature looks like it's covered in blue and black leopard print, with frilly face appendages.

It can grow to be almost 2 feet long.

The Bradenton Herald reports it ranks among the largest amphibians in the world.

Two researchers spent nearly a decade searching for the creature after one heard the legend of an "leopard eel" around a campfire in 2001.