By Brynn Walling, USFWS
Texas blind salamanders are rare but fascinating creatures.
This cave dwelling amphibian is a pinkish translucent color and grows to be around 5 inches long. They are fairly slender and fair-legged and about half of their body length comes from their tails alone.
Who needs eyes when you've got a tail that long? (Photo: USFWS)
Impress your friends with these five fun facts:
- Texas blind salamanders live in total darkness. Although they have eyes, they are located under their skin, leaving them totally blind. This feature allows them to live mainly underwater. They are rarely spotted outside of the water. The salamander will occasionally be pushed to the surface by the springs, but doesn’t stay there long!
- They are only found in Edwards Aquifer. The aquifer provides a cool and oxygen-rich habitat for the salamander. Specifically, the salamander can be found in the San Marcos area of the Aquifer.
- First discovered in a flowing artesian well in San Marcos National Fishery. This fishery is now known as Texas State University. The species was listed as endangered in 1967 and approximately 10 years later a captive breeding program was started at the San Marcos Fish Hatchery.
- They are an active predator. Even blind, the salamander is a very active predator. They shift their head back and forth under the water and are able to find prey according to feeling the waves underwater. Their diet mainly consists of snail, shrimp, and other invertebrates.
- Texas Blind Salamanders = Clean water. Clean water equals happy people. Texas Blind Salamanders share water with humans. If the water in unclean or there is no water due to drought, then humans lose water too. The more water the better in this case!
Learn about recovery efforts for the Texas Blind Salamander, and other endangered and threatened species in Texas.
Each week, throughout this ruby anniversary year of the Endangered Species Act, we’ll highlight stories of conservation success in every state across the country. Stay tuned!