Texas Blind Salamander



           The Texas Blind Salamander makes its home in the Edwards Aquifer  of central Texas, specifically in the San Marcos pool in Hays County, Texas.  The Edwards Aquifer resides in a karst landscape which is a particular type of environment in which the soluble bedrock has been dissolved in places giving rise to caves which help to drain water from the overlying soils.  The soluble bedrock is usually a carbonate rock such as limestone or dolomite (Springer 2007).  Karst Spring

            This underground environment makes it very difficult to observe these creatures in their natural habitats so much of what is known about these creatures is known from specimens grown and observed in a laboratory setting. The water temperatures found within Edwards Aquifer are fairly constant throughout the year, remaining around 21-23 degrees Celsius (Uhlenhuth 1921)(Epp et al. 2010).  One of the reasons the Texas Blind Salamander is found only in this region of the world is its need for clean water of a relatively constant temperature (Edwards Aquifer Species 2003).  Other species living with the Texas Blind salamander include various species of snails, amphipods, and shrimp on which the salamanders, as the top predators of the ecosystem, prey (Texas Blind Salamander – National Wildlife Federation 2014)(Springer 2007).  Map of the Edwards Aquifer

            Because the Salamanders and many of the other species living within the same environment are fully aquatic creatures, one of the biggest threats they face is from humans over pumping the aquifer to extract fresh water.  This could lower the water levels within the aquifer, reducing the size of the salamander’s environment, and also could cause salt water to enter areas that are currently occupied by fresh water, which would also be detrimental to the salamanders.  Because they are located underground where water accumulates from surface runoff that eventually penetrates the ground, they face another threat, and that threat is that of their environment being contaminated by chemical spills.  Because of these dangers the species, as well as many of their cohabiting species, is federally classified as endangered, just as the Hell Creek Cave Crayfish is.  (Edwards Aquifer Species 2003).

             Next we'll learn about the various adaptation the Blind Salamander has to help it to thrive in a dark cave environment at the Adaptations page.