News and Activities

Endangered Salamanders perishing

Date Posted: August 12, 2003

NEW INFO The Austin Field Office has submitted a proposal to the City of Austin, Texas for funding to conduct supersaturation testing for the endangered Barton Springs salamander. The proposed testing will be conducted at the San Marcos National Fish Hatchery and Technology Center. The experiment will involve a surrogate test species (captive-reared San Marcos salamanders) and will test several levels of supersaturation to determine at what level supersaturation has an effect in producing gas bubble trauma in the species. Gas bubble trauma is suspected in causing a die-off of Barton Springs salamanders in their spring habitat last year.

Previous Submission(1/17/2003)
The Austin Fish and Wildlife Office is currently involved with determining the cause of apparent gas bubble disease in endangered Barton Springs salamanders at one of the four spring habitats of the species which are located in downtown Austin, Texas. A number of salamanders and small fish have been found with evidence of gas bubble disease which is associated with supersaturation of gases in the water. Manifestations of the disease at the spring include “popeye”in fish and small bubbles or full bloat in salamanders. Dead specimens have been sent to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center at Madison, Wisconsin for necropsy and pathogenic analysis. Analyses are also currently underway for samples of water, sediment, and animal tissues. The Austin field office is currently preparing a supersaturation study with aquatic, gilled salamanders. The study is being designed to replicate supersaturation of gases in the Edwards Aquifer which is thought to be the cause of lethality in a recent die-off of the endangered Barton Springs salamander (Eurycea sosorum). The purpose of the study is to help determine whether supersaturation of gases in the aquifer acted alone in producing gas bubble trauma in these salamanders or whether contaminants in very low concentrations may have contributed.

Allen White, 512-490-0057.


Last updated: June 12, 2015