The Texas Blind Salamander

Texas Endemic Species

Background

Because the Texas blind salamander is adapted for living in water underground, it has no eyes, only two small black dots under the skin. It has little skin pigment, is white in color, and has red external gills used to get oxygen from the water.

The blind salamander is an active predator. It moves its head from side to side as it searches for food on the bottom. It hunts animal food by sensing water pressure waves created by prey in the still underground waters where it lives. Tiny snails, shrimp, and other aquatic invertebrates make up its diet. Reproduction occurs year round. It is unknown how many Texas blind salamanders exist.

The Texas blind salamander depends on a constant supply of clean, cool water from the Edwards Aquifer. Pollution and overuse of water caused by the growth of cities threaten its survival.

Threats or Causes of Endangerment

Survival of this salamander depends upon the stability and continued purity of the Edwards Aquifer springflows. As with the other endangered species in the Edwards region, threats are from diminished springflows and pollution of groundwater and runoff caused by increasing demand for water and burgeoning development over recharge areas.

Solutions and Successes

A great success that has helped the Texas Blind Salamander is the conservation practices of many people in the San Antonio area. This area is dependent on the Edwards Aquifer for its drinking water. The latest droughts have caused the city and other areas to put into affect conservation rules. An unexpected result of this is the conservation of the Texas Blind Salamander. This continued effort will provide a clean place for the species to thrive.