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Lungless Salamanders: Plethodontidae - Texas Blind Salamander (eurycea Rathbuni): Species Accounts

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansLungless Salamanders: Plethodontidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Dusky Salamander (desmognathus Fuscus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, LUNGLESS SALAMANDERS AND PEOPLE

TEXAS BLIND SALAMANDER (Eurycea rathbuni): SPECIES ACCOUNTS

Physical characteristics: Texas blind salamanders have no eyes. They have red, feathery gills and a shiny white body with long, extremely thin legs. Gills are organs for obtaining oxygen from water. These salamanders reach a length of about 5 to 5.5 inches (13 to 14 centimeters) from tip of snout to tip of tail. The head is large and flat and has a broad, blunt snout.


Geographic range: Texas blind salamanders live only in a small area on the edge of the Edwards Plateau, near San Marcos in south-central Texas, United States.


Habitat: Texas blind salamanders live only underground in streams and pools in sinkholes and caves. A sinkhole is an area where the Texas blind salamanders live only in a small area on the edge of the Edwards Plateau, near San Marcos in south-central Texas, United States. (© Danté Fenolio/Photo Researchers, Inc.) land over an underground river has collapsed and formed the entrance to a cave.


Diet: Texas blind salamanders eat snails and tiny crustaceans such as water fleas and cave shrimp.


Behavior and reproduction: Scientists know little about the behavior of Texas blind salamanders. These animals have been seen swimming in the water of caves and using their long limbs to grab and cling to the rocky cave walls. Scientists do not know how Texas blind salamanders reproduce.


Texas blind salamanders and people: Texas blind salamanders have no known importance to people.


Conservation status: The IUCN lists Texas blind salamanders as Vulnerable, or facing high risk of extinction in the wild. These salamanders were one of the first species named to the United States federal endangered species list. They become threatened when people remove the water from their habitat and by pollution from the land above the caves. ∎

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