Salado Salamander, Chisholm Trail Salamander
© 2014 Nathan Bendik (1 of 1)
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: United States
Eurycea chisholmensis Chippindale, Price, Wiens and Hillis,
Paul T. Chippindale1
1. Historical versus Current Distribution. Salado salamanders (Eurycea chisholmensis) were described by Chippindale, Price, Wiens, and Hillis (2000) from springs at Salado, Bell County, Texas. Prior to the work of Chippindale (1995) and Chippindale et al. (2000), this population was known from a single juvenile specimen and was considered a peripheral isolate of Texas salamanders (E. neotenes; Sweet, 1978a, 1982). Salado salamanders are members of the "northern group" of Chippindale (1995, 2000) and Chippindale et al. (2000); this monophyletic group occurs northeast of the Colorado River in the Edwards Plateau region of central Texas. Based on molecular markers, this and other northern species are extremely divergent from E. neotenes and other Eurycea from the southern Edwards Plateau region (Chippindale et al., 2000).
2. Historical versus Current Abundance. Almost nothing is known of the
historical abundance of this species. Chippindale et al. (2000) collected most
specimens in 1989–'91, when several could sometimes be found on a single
visit. Between 1991 and 1998, no additional animals could be located despite >
20 visits to the type locality; one specimen was found in August 1998.
A. Breeding. Reproduction is aquatic.
i. Breeding migrations. Unlikely to occur.
ii. Breeding habitat. The aquatic habitats of adults.
i. Egg deposition sites. Unknown; some other spring-dwelling species of central Texas Eurycea are thought to deposit eggs in gravel substrates.
ii. Clutch size. Unknown.
C. Larvae/Metamorphosis. Salado salamanders are paedomorphic, and natural metamorphosis is unknown.
D. Juvenile Habitat. Probably similar to adult habitat.
E. Adult Habitat. Completely aquatic. Salado salamanders are known only from the immediate vicinity of spring outflows, under rocks, and in gravel substrate. Water temperature in springs of the Edwards Plateau is relatively constant throughout the year and typically ranges from 18–20 ˚C, or slightly warmer near the fault zone at the Plateau's edge (Sweet, 1982). Sweet (1982) provided a comprehensive distributional analysis of the central Texas Eurycea and discussed hydrogeology of the region in relation to salamander distribution.
F. Home Range Size. Unknown.
G. Territories. Unknown.
H. Aestivation/Avoiding Dessication. Unknown.
I. Seasonal Migrations. Unlikely to occur, although there may be seasonal variation in surface versus subsurface habitat use.
J. Torpor (Hibernation). Probably active throughout the year.
K. Interspecific Associations/Exclusions. Unknown.
L. Age/Size at Reproductive Maturity. Unknown. The average SVL of Salado salamanders measured by Chippindale et al. (2000) was 32.9 mm; all specimens measured were thought to be sexually mature, but this was verified for only some of the specimens.
M. Longevity. Unknown.
N. Feeding Behavior. Prey probably consists mainly of small aquatic invertebrates, but no detailed feeding studies of this species have been conducted. Captive specimens accepted amphipods (Hyalella azteca; personal observations).
O. Predators. Unknown.
P. Anti-Predator Mechanisms. Secretive.
Q. Diseases. Unknown.
R. Parasites. Unknown.
4. Conservation. Chippindale et al. (2000) and Price et al. (1995) address some aspects of the conservation biology of Salado salamanders. They note that determining the conservation status of this species presents a problem because of the difficulty in acquiring specimens and determining the extent of its range. These authors point out that most of the spring outlets at Salado have been modified in the past 150 yr and that several groundwater contamination incidents have occurred in the recent past. The potential remains for more incidents. The type locality for this species is located in a municipal park. Salado salamanders are listed as a Candidate species for Federal listing (http://ecos.fws.gov).
1Paul T. Chippindale
Literature references for Amphibian Declines: The Conservation Status of United States Species, edited by Michael Lannoo, are here.
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