AmphibiaWeb - Eurycea waterlooensis


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Eurycea waterlooensis Hillis, Chamberlain, Wilcox & Chippindale, 2001
Austin Blind Salamander
Subgenus: Typhlomolge
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Hemidactyliinae
genus: Eurycea

© 2007 Danté B Fenolio (1 of 6)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Vulnerable (VU)
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National Status Federally Listed Endangered
Regional Status Texas State Listed Endangered
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (1 records).

This species is a perennibranchiate form that maintains permanent larval morphology. E. waterlooensis has a mixture of morphological characters which set it apart from the rest of Eurycea. These include: the absence of external eyes - no image-forming lenses but instead small subdermal eye spots; its characterization as a perennibranchiate; the presence of 12 costal grooves; limbs proportionately smaller than in its two closest relatives - E. rathbuni and E. robusta; and weakly developed tail fins - the ventral section of the tail fin is present only on the posterior half and the dorsal section is nearly absent on the anterior half. This species has an extended snout and a shimmering, lustrous white appearance due to the reflective connective tissue that lies beneath its transparent skin. Occasionally, shades of lavender are exhibited, and a row of iridophores sometimes can be found along the sides of body and tail.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: United States

U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Texas


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (1 records).
E. waterlooensis has an extremely limited distribution. It has been discovered in three of the four outlets of Barton Springs in Austin, Texas. The species is thought to be restricted to the subterranean cavities of the Edwards Aquifer, and so the individuals found at the outlets are believed to to have been flushed out of the aquifer accidentally.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Diet includes at least ostracods, copepods, amphipods, and aquatic plants. In captivity, it readily eats a variety of small invertebrates. Captive individuals also enjoy crawling out of water and adhering to the wet glass of the aquarium walls with their flattened tails. They spend many minutes at a time out of water if humidity nears 100%.

Trends and Threats
E. waterlooensis has recently been included in the City of Austin's captive breeding program along with the endangered E. sosorum. Human disturbances at Barton Springs are likely to have less impact on the subterranean E. waterlooensis than surficial E. sosorum, but it has still been negatively affected by development and increasing siltation.

Relation to Humans
This is a salamander that has been discovered in a highly urban area. Its discovery in the same place as the discovery of an earlier species has alerted the local citizens and led to substantial discussion concerning biodiversity preservation and habitat conservation.

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss


Hillis, D.M., Chamberlain, D.A., Wilcox, T.P., and Chippindale P.T. (2001). ''A new species of subterranean blind salamander (Plethodontidae: Hemidactyliini: Eurycea: Typhlomolge) from Austin, Texas, and a systematic revision of central Texas paedomorphic salamanders.'' Herpetologica, 57(3), 266-280.

Originally submitted by: Brian Petirs (first posted 2001-10-01)
Description by: Michelle S. Koo (updated 2021-04-27)
Distribution by: Michelle S. Koo (updated 2021-04-27)
Life history by: Michelle S. Koo (updated 2021-04-27)
Trends and threats by: Michelle S. Koo (updated 2021-04-27)
Relation to humans by: Michelle S. Koo (updated 2021-04-27)

Edited by: David B. Wake (2021-04-27)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Eurycea waterlooensis: Austin Blind Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 21, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 21 May 2024.

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