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Texas Blind Salamander

The Texas Blind Salamander lives in only one location in the entire world. Guess where. Texas! Specifically the Edwards Plateau region, (#30 on the map) and more specifically then that, in an aquifer under San Marcos. They require a very clean supply of water, which is being threatened by city growth and pollution. As such, they are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list, and the number of specimens in the wild is unknown.

The Texas Blind Salamander lives underground in its aquifer, and as such has evolved to the point of not really needing eyes or skin pigmentation. Those evolved traits are found in many other cave dwelling creatures as well. They obviously live in water, and have large sets of red gills on the sides of their head in order to draw oxygen from it. They grow up to 5 inches in length. Overall they are considered to be the most advanced troglobitic (cave dwelling) species of salamander known. They do not have a set breeding season, as evidenced by observations of young year round, and they feed on tiny blind crustaceans, snails and insects that themselves live off the nutrients in bat droppings. Not much else is known about them because of their underwater, underground habitat, and they are only ever found on the surface when the water pushes them up there.

image from the us fish and wildlife service


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