Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species is described by Chippindale, Hillis and Price (2000) and is included in the E. latitans complex populations from Cascade Caverns, Bear Creek Spring, Cibolo Creek Spring, Kneedeep Cave Spring, Honey Creek Cave Spring, Less Ranch Spring, Cherry Creek Spring, Cloud Hollow Springs, and Rebecca Creek Spring, in Comal, Kerr, Kendall, and Hays counties, in the Edwards Plateau region of central Texas, USA. Chippindale et al. (1994) noted that these populations might comprise multiple species.
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endemic to a single state or province

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (250-5000 square km (about 100-2000 square miles)) Chippindale et al. (2000) included in the E. latitans complex populations from Cascade Caverns, Bear Creek Spring, Cibolo Creek Spring, Kneedeep Cave Spring, Honey Creek Cave Spring, Less Ranch Spring, Cherry Creek Spring, Cloud Hollow Springs, and Rebecca Creek Spring, in Comal, Kerr, Kendall, and Hays counties, Texas. Chippindale et al. (1994) noted that these populations may comprise multiple species.

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Physical Description

Size

Length: 11 cm

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Type Information

Holotype for Eurycea latitans
Catalog Number: USNM 123594
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Sex/Stage: Male;
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1946
Locality: Boerne, 4.6 mi SE of, Cascade Cavern, Kendall, Texas, United States, North America
  • Holotype: Smith, H. M. & Potter, F. E. 1946. Herpetologica. 3 (4): 106.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It can be found in springs and caves containing water in limestones. This species is completely aquatic and does not metamorphose.

Systems
  • Freshwater
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Comments: Restricted to springs and aquatic habitats in caves.

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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20

Comments: The E. latitans complex is known from about 10 locations (Chippindale et al. 2000).

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Global Abundance

Unknown

Comments: Population size is unkown (A. Price, pers. comm., 1997).

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Paedomorphic.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2004
  • Needs updating

Assessor/s
Geoffrey Hammerson, Paul Chippindale

Reviewer/s
Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Vulnerable, because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 20,000 km2 and its Area of Occupancy is less than 2,000 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is a continuing decline in the quality of its cave spring habitat.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G3 - Vulnerable

Reasons: Occurs in springs in Texas; may be declining and moderately threatened but existing data do not allow any firm conclusions; may comprise multiple species.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Highly vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Very narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements scarce.

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Population

Population
No detailed population surveys have been conducted; the abundance of salamanders appears to vary considerably among localities, but actual numbers are difficult to assess.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable to decline of 30%

Comments: May be declining; inadequate population information available to assess trends (A. Price, pers. comm., 1997).

Global Long Term Trend: Relatively stable to decline of 50%

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Threats

Major Threats
It is potentially threatened by declining water quantity and quality.
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Degree of Threat: Unknown

Comments: May be moderately threatened, but information is not available to assess the effects of potential threats. Threats include declining water quantity and quality; highly vulnerable due to restricted distribution and habitat (A. Price, pers. comm., 1997). Would probably be exterminated if the underground waterway in which it lives were flooded or polluted (Bury et al. 1980).

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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Its range includes Guadeloupe River State Park. It is listed as Threatened by the state of Texas, but has no special recognition by the Federal Government.
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Biological Research Needs: Clarify taxonomic status. Determine life history and ecology (Petranka, in press). Determine effects of potential threats.

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Global Protection: Unknown whether any occurrences are appropriately protected and managed

Comments: Unknown (A. Price, pers. comm., 1997).

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Wikipedia

Eurycea latitans

The Cascade Caverns salamander,[1] or Cascade Caverns neotenic salamander.[citation needed], Eurycea latitans, is a species of aquatic salamander endemic to Cascade Caverns in Kendall County, Texas, USA. Like other species of cave salamanders, they are almost entirely subterranean, living in spring waters deep in limestone rock strata, so gauging the exact extent of their geographic range or even their population numbers is virtually impossible. This also leads to reduced sampling for study, which has led to some uncertainty in the taxonomic classification, some sources considering all species of Texas cave salamanders to be subspecies of the Texas salamander. Eurycea neotenes and Eurycea rathbuni also live in caves and eat small bugs and other species of insects and spiders.

Description

The Cascade Caverns salamander is translucent, with a faint net-shaped pattern that is brown in color and often white speckling. The species is rarely seen, so the amount of variation in their coloration is unknown. They are neotenic, meaning they retain characteristics into adulthood that are usually associated with juvenile salamanders, such as external gills. They have stout bodies, with short legs, and reduced eyes set under a layer of skin. This species of salamanders is threatened and could become endangered.

References

  • Chippindale, P.T., A.H. Price, Wiens, J.J. & Hillis, D.M. (2000): Phylogenetic relationships of central Texas hemidactyliine plethodontid salamanders, genus Eurycea, and a taxonomic revision of the group. Herpetological Monographs 14: 1-80.
  • Hillis, D.M., Chamberlain, D.A., Wilcox, T.P., & 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: 266-280.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Sweet (1984) concluded that E. latitans is apparently a troglobitic population of E. neotenes that episodically incorporates individuals of E. tridentifera; he regarded E. latitans as an invalid taxon. Chippindale et al. (1994) examined genetic variation and concluded that E. latitans, at least as represented by the Pfeiffer's Water Cave population, is taxonomically distinct. Chippindale et al. (2000) included in the "Eurycea latitans complex" populations from several locations and noted that the affinities of these populations are uncertain and definitely in need of further investigation. Chippindale et al. (1994) noted that the group may contain multiple species.

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