Blanco Blind Salamander
Eurycea robusta (Longley, 1978)
Paul T. Chippindale1
1. Historical versus Current Distribution. Blanco blind salamanders (Eurycea robusta) were described based on a single specimen collected in 1951, when workers drilled a hole for water in the bed of the then-dry Blanco River just east of San Marcos, Hays County, Texas (additional specimens were lost; apparently some were eaten by a heron shortly after capture). Authorship of the name is problematic. Potter (1963) described the species as Typhlomolge robusta in a Master's thesis, but this description is invalid under current rules of zoological nomenclature. Longley (1978) must be credited with description of the species, although he did so unintentionally in a government report. Potter and Sweet (1981) redescribed this taxon and discussed biogeographic history of salamanders in the Edwards Plateau region and status of the genus Typhlomolge (note that Dixon  argued that Potter and Sweet should be credited with description of this species). Potter and Sweet (1981) and Russell (1976) provided evidence that the geological formation in which this species occurs is hydrologically isolated from that in which the geographically proximal species E. (formerly T.) rathbuni is found, supporting recognition of this population as a distinct species. Based on molecular data, Chippindale (1995, 2000) and Chippindale et al. (2000) agreed with Mitchell and Reddell (1965) and Mitchell and Smith (1972), who recommended synonymy of the genus Typhlomolge under Eurycea. Because "T." robusta appears to be closely related to "T." rathbuni based on morphology (no molecular data are available for "T." robusta), this renders the species Eurycea robusta. Petranka (1998) followed this designation. No further specimens have been collected.
2. Historical versus Current Abundance. Nothing is known; a 1995 petition to list this species as Federally Endangered was rejected due to lack of information on its status and distribution (O'Donnell, 1998).
3. Life History Features.
A. Breeding. Reproduction is aquatic.
i. Breeding migrations. Unknown.
ii. Breeding habitat. Unknown.
i. Egg deposition sites. Unknown.
ii. Clutch size. Unknown.
C. Larvae/Metamorphosis. Unknown.
D. Juvenile Habitat. Unknown.
E. Adult Habitat. Completely aquatic and subterranean; nothing else is known.
F. Home Range Size. Unknown.
G. Territories. Unknown.
H. Aestivation/Avoiding Dessication. Unknown.
I. Seasonal Migrations. Unknown.
J. Torpor (Hibernation). Unknown.
K. Interspecific Associations/Exclusions. Unknown.
L. Age/Size at Reproductive Maturity. Unknown; the type specimen is a reproductively mature female, 57.1 mm SVL, 100.8 mm total length.
M. Longevity. Unknown.
N. Feeding Behavior. Unknown.
O. Predators. Unknown (excluding the heron mentioned above, certainly not a natural predator).
P. Anti-Predator Mechanisms. Unknown.
Q. Diseases. Unknown.
R. Parasites. Unknown.
4. Conservation. Very little is known about the conservation status of Blanco blind salamanders. A 1995 petition to list this species as Federally Endangered was rejected due to lack of information on its status and distribution. However, the State of Texas lists them as Threatened (www.tpwd.state.tx.us).
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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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2019. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 27 May 2019.
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