The Texas blind salamander typifies the scores of animals which benefit from the conservation work conducted within the National Fish Hatchery System. The salamander had a perilous existence in the wild, inhabiting underwater caves in central Texas. National Fish Hatchery facilities provide refuge for endangered species like the salamander, where scientists can learn about their life requirements and how to improve their plight in the wild, outside the confines of our nurturing National Fish Hatchery facilities. In the same manner, additional threatened, endangered or imperiled aquatic species, including but not limited to fresh water mussels, trout, salmon, darters, sturgeon and toads continue to benefit from the research, rearing, distribution and restoration efforts of our National Fish Hatchery System.
Now in its tenth year of raising pallid sturgeon, Neosho National Fish Hatchery continues to increase its production from wild-caught fish, both by refining culture techniques and increasing the amount of tank space. Endangered pallid sturgeon are bred and the young reared for one year to a length of at least 9 inches before being tagged and released into the lower Missouri River at several different locations where small, lingering populations of these fish still exist.
Photo Credit: Ryan Hagerty, USFWS
The Higgins' eye pearlymussel is native to the Mississippi River and some of its northern tributaries. It is usually found in areas of swift current and buries itself in mud-gravel bottoms in water up to 15 feet deep with only the edge of its shell and its feeding siphons exposed. Higgins' eye populations are in immediate danger of being eliminated in the Upper Mississippi River. One of the strategies to save the species is the propagation of the Higgins' eye at Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin. Photo Credit: Gary L. Wege, USFWS
Like the San Marcos and Barton Springs salamanders, the Texas blind salamander retains its external gills and lives in water all of its life. They really don’t need functional eyes since they live in the unlit, underground waters of the Edwards Aquifer. They use smell and possibly vibration or pressure to sample their environment for food and mates. It was listed as endangered in 1967. To learn more visit San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center. Photo Credit: Ryan Hagerty, USFWS