This golden-brown aquatic beetle lives in and out of the bubbling, boiling spring openings found in the headwaters of the Comal Spring complex and Fern Bank Springs fed by the Edwards Balcones Fault Zone Aquifer groundwater. This species was listed as endangered in 1997, because threats of groundwater overconsumption and contamination. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with our partners to ensure the springs continue to provide clean and healthy freshwater to their microhabitats and important life history and biological research to address the needs for the species.
This fully-aquatic riffle beetle cannot fly, does not have functioning eyes and does not have gills. Instead, they encapsulate a bubble of air called a plastron that diffuses oxygen to their body and relies on good quality freshwater to survive.
Crawling on submerged gravel and decaying wood in close proximity to the spring openings, the Comal Springs dryopid beetle eats organic matter, known as awfuchs or biofilm, off the roots and wood.
Comal Springs dryopid beetle adults inhabit subterranean spaces associated with springs issuing from the Edwards Aquifer, and their association with the surface can only be hypothesized. Once at the surface, they inhabit gravel and cobble-dominated substrates with aquatic vegetation and submerged wood present at Comal and Fern Bank springs (Comal and Hays County, Texas). It is also unknown if this species has the ability to re-enter the subterranean aquifer once it has emerged or been discharged through the springs.
Areas where ground water meets the surface.
Explore the information available for this taxon's timeline. You can select an event on the timeline to view more information, or cycle through the content available in the carousel below.14 Items