Nature

This Salamander Is Only Found in One Place on Earth

By  | 

Did you know that the Texas Hill Country is home to a very specific breed of salamander who is not found anywhere else on the planet? The Comal Springs Salamander (also known as the Comal Blind Salamander) is only found in the water-filled caves of the Edwards Aquifer near San Marcos, Texas.

A Tiny, Eye-Less Wonder

Comal Blind Salamander

Photo: Flickr/Josh More

This salamander is a tiny thing, only measuring 1.5 to three inches in length and, as its name suggests, it has no eyes – only two black dots under the skin. The Comal Salamander is adapted for living in water underground so it has little use for eyes.

It is an active predator. It moves its head from side to side as it searches for food on the bottom. It hunts animal food by sensing water pressure waves created by prey in the still underground waters where it lives. Tiny snails, shrimp, and other aquatic invertebrates make up its diet and its reproduction occurs year-round. It is unknown how many Comal salamanders exist.

The salamander depends on a constant supply of clean, cool water from the Edwards Aquifer. Pollution and overuse of water caused by the growth of cities threaten its survival. Therefore, the Comal Blind Salamander is listed as a threatened species in the state of Texas. Due to its extremely limited geographic range, its primary threat is contamination of the water sources in the area.

What Can You Do to Protect the Comal Blind Salamander?

Comal Blind Salamander

Photo: Facebook/Joe Furman

You can help the Comal Blind Salamander (and most other aquatic wildlife) by conserving water and preventing water pollution. Edwards Aquifer Species Management suggests that some herbicides, insecticides, and other chemicals can impact water quality and adversely affect many species of animals who depend on our aquifers. Even if you don’t live in this very specific region that houses the Comal Blind Salamander, it doesn’t hurt to protect and conserve your water.  

Page 1 of 2:12