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Texas blind salamander

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Texas blind salamander
Texas Blind Salamander (Eurycea rathbuni).jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Eurycea rathbuni

The Texas Blind Salamander is a species of salamander known by the scientific name Eurycea Rathbuni. It is a unique subterranean cave dwelling creature found exclusively in the Edwards Plateau located near the San Marcos region in Texas. They are unique in that they have no eyes and reproduce all year round. They are also an endangered species. They are characterized by their very little pigment resulting in very white skin and their long thin limbs.

Anatomy

The Texas blind salamander anatomy is very similar to other salamanders belonging to the order Caudata. Their four legs are slim and elongated, and their tail is laterally compressed and finned, tapering at its end. Its head is very broad and it has a narrow snout.[2]

Its most distinguishing features that set it apart from other salamanders are its reddish external gills, and its lack of eyes, which means it is adapted for living in underwater caverns with very little to no light to use for sight. It does have two black spots on its head which mark the presence of vestigial(not fully developed) eyes. These eyes do not develop throughout the salamander's lifetime. The Texas blind salamander's mature length is usually about 13 inches.(5cm)[3]

Reproduction

Due to the species endangerment, very little is known about the specifics of its reproduction. However, one person has observed a full cycle of courting. It begins when the female comes to the male and rubs her chin upon his dorsum. If the male is unresponsive or if he ignores the female, the female may start a behavior in which she kicks gravel with her hind legs. The male will eventually begin to move his body laterally. Eventually the male will then bend into an S shape and then deposit a spermatophore upon her substrate. Breeding also does not seem to have a set season, as young salamanders have been found year round.[4]

Ecology

The Texas blind salamander has only been found in the San Marcos, Texas region, specifically only in the underground water systems of the Edwards Plateau of Texas. It seems to eat anything it can get, including small insects and plants.[5]


References

  • [6] T.Orell, Encyclopedia Of Life,Accessed 2/28/2011.
  • [7] author unknown, publisher, Accessed 2/19/2011.
  • [8] author unknown, publisher, Accessed 2/12/2011.