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From swamps and lakes to woodlands and karst, the peninsula of Florida is home to a diversity of habitats and no less a diversity of animal and plant life.
The originally Gondwanan freshwater chondrichthyians have done quite well in the aquatic environments of Florida.
The xenacanths are represented by one genus in Florida, but this genus contains a number of moderate to large predatory species.
Americarcharus is the genus containing most North American xenacanths. Some attain sizes of a few meters in large bodies of water, but most are limited to oxygenated environments.
Americarcharus okeechobeensis -- the Lake Okeechobee shark -- is the most common species of xenacanth in Florida. As its name would suggest, it is most common in Lake Okeechobee, and it is limited to environments with at least moderate oxygenation. It is a midsize predator (attaining a maximum length of around 1.5 meters or 5 feet), feeding mostly on other fish and small aquatic vertebrates.
The actinopterygians -- the ray-finned fishes -- are the most common and diverse group of bony fish in the world.
Though not as common in the Americas as in Europe, the acipenseriformes are still a major component of the fauna in North America.
The "sturgeons," while less common than elsewhere, can be found throughout the peninsula of Florida
Paddlefishes are a regular sight in the larger waterways of Florida, where their filter-feeding lifestyle can be fully utilized.
The most common group of fish in North America.
The more common of the two holostean groups in North America, some grow to enormous sizes.
Phytosaurichthyes the genus containing the large, freshwater predatory gar (commonly called the "phytosaur gar"). These fish can reach lengths of over four meters in the largest species and are common in moderately-oxygenated environments due to their limited ability to breathe air.
Paralepidosteus is the genus of gar containing the most familiar garpike-like fish. Though obviously not exactly the same as those of our timeline, they share a similar body shape, environmental niche, and even coloration in many cases.
Centarcholepidosteus are the small to midsize midwater predators characterized by short snouts and stockier bodies.
Fundulepidosteus are the small, topminnow-like gar that typically feed on insects on the water's surface with their needle-like jaws.
Percinalepidosteus is the genus of small gar that are characterized by shortened jaws and by their habit of living on the bottom like the gobies or darters of our timeline.
Though less common in North America and smaller than the gar, the bowfins contribute a notable component to the fauna of the continent.
Paramia is a small predatory fish. It is only capable of feeding on fish that can fit into its mouth, due to a suction-feeding habit (similar but not identical to the teleosts of our timeline).
The air-breathing lungfish have become quite diverse in the low-oxygen environments in many of Florida's waterways.
Benthodipnus is the genus containing the majority of the bottom-feeding lungfish in eastern North America. They use their limb-like spindles to feel the bottom, while they slowly drift above the substrate. Crushing plates in their mouths allow them to tackle a diverse diet.
The Everglades lungfish (Benthodipnus floridensis) is the most common of its genus, ranging from the south of the Florida peninsula in the south to the Potomac watershed in the north and the Mississippi River delta in the west. It typically feeds on detritus, dead animal matter, or animals small enough to fit into its mouth. It is one of the most common animals in the hypoxic backwaters found throughout the swamps and bayous of the Gulf Coastal Plane.
In the very wet environment of Florida and without significant competition from squamates, lissamphibians have filled a number of niches.
The caecilians have taken the roles of many snake-like animals in Florida.
Most diverse in the Americas, the podocaecilians inhabit a number of unique and unusual niches.
Sirenocaecilium is a genus of small to mid-sized aquatic caecilians native to what is the southeastern United States in our timeline. They retain fully-developed front legs and well-formed lungs, allowing them to colonize a variety of freshwater environments.
Sirenocaecilium macropodum is a species of aquatic caecilian present in the warm, wet areas of northern North America. It reaches a maximum length of around 1 meter (3 feet), and it feeds on small aquatic invertebrates and occasional fish. Its ability to breathe air allows it to live in lower-oxygen environments than many of the fish present in North America.
The euapodans are more common in the Old World than the Americas, but they are still represented by a number of large and diverse genera.
Colubrocaecilium is a large and diverse genus of caecilians occupying many terrestrial and semi-aquatic niches in the Americas.
The Americynognathians are the cynognathians of the New World. They tend to be generalists, using their unusual tooth structures to eat a variety of food items.
Americynognathus is the genus that contains all North American and a few South American cynognathians, They are morphologically conservative and generalist.
Americynognathus americanus (the American cynognathian) is a species of cynognathian common throughout North America. Typically around 0.5 m (1.6 feet), it is too small to hunt any but the smallest prey on its own. Its large eyes allow it to be active at night, though it also can be seen frequently during the day. Typical cynognathian teeth allow it to have a varied diet, thus allowing it to live in many different habitats across the continent.
The redondasaurs are the only phytosaurs present in the Americas, and they are found from the Pampas in the south to the Mississippi watershed in the north.
The redondasaurs of North America, the Caribbean, and Asia.
Laurentiaphytosaurus is the genus containing most of the North American phytosaurs. They have broad snouts, bony growths from their skulls, and typically slow metabolisms. They also tend to hunt terrestrial prey from the water.
Laurentiaphytosaurus evergladesensis (the Everglades redondasaur) is a common phytosaur in freshwater and brackish environments of Florida, having a greater salt tolerance than redondasaurs. They attain a maximum length of about 4 meters (13 feet), and they feed primarily on animals much smaller than themselves such as turtles, sphenodonts, and the occasional small archosaur. They are found from the Florida Keys in the south to Mobile Bay in the northwest and the Altamaha River in the northeast.
Laurentiaphytosaurus mississippiensis (the northern redondasaur) is somewhat less common in Florida than is the Everglades redondasaur, due to its preference for deeper water and lower salt tolerance. It is, however, still present in some of the larger waterways. Some individuals are known to reach sizes of up to 7 meters (23 feet), and they feed on medium sized terrestrial animals such as archosaurs. They range from Lake Okeechobee in the south to the Missouri and Rio Grande watersheds in the west and the Potomac watershed in the east.