Sunday 19 May
Blanco River Springs salamander (Eurycea pterophila)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Blanco River Springs salamander fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Blanco River Springs salamander description
The Blanco River Springs salamander (Eurycea pterophila) is a species of lungless salamander which spends its entire life in freshwater, and has no terrestrial life stages (3).
The Blanco River Springs salamander is primitive in appearance, with very small, undeveloped eyes and little colour on the head and majority of the body. The size of this species has been found to vary depending on the spring in which it lives (2).
Lungless salamanders (Plethodontidae) can be distinguished from other salamanders by a groove that runs along the side of the head, called the nasolabial groove (4).
- Also known as
- Fern Bank salamander.
- Length: 30 - 37 mm (2)
IUCN / SSC Amphibian Specialist Group:
Gascon, C., Collins, J.P. Moore, R.D., Church, D.R., McKay, J.E. and Mendelson III, J.R. (2007) Amphibian Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. Available at:
- Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones) and echinoderms.
- IUCN Red List (November, 2010) http://www.iucnredlist.org/
- Lannoo, M. (2005) Amphibian Declines: The Conservation Status of United States Species. University of California Press, London.
ZARA Environmental LLC. (2011)Draft Preliminary Assesment of Rare Amphibian Species of the Southern Edwards Plateau Habitat Conservation Plan. ZARA Environmental LLC, Manchaca, Texas. Available at:
Larson, A., Wake, D., and Devitt, T. (2006) Plethodontidae. Lungless Salamanders. Tree of Life Web Project, online. Available at:
- Bendik, N.(2006) Population Genetics, Systematics, Biogeography, and Evolution of the Southeastern Central Texas Eurycea Clade Blepsimolge (Plethodontidae). Masters Thesis, University of Texas at Arlington, Texas.
- Sweet, S.S. (1978) On the status of Eurycea Pterophila. Herpetologica, 34: 101-108.
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Blanco River Springs salamander biology
The Blanco River Springs salamander has adapted to its aquatic lifestyle by becoming lungless (4). Instead of having lungs to breathe like most salamanders, it instead retains external gills throughout its life (3). Like other lungless salamanders, it is also able to breathe through its moist skin (4).
Like other aquatic salamanders, the Blanco River Springs salamander mates and lays its eggs underwater. Closely related species are thought to deposit their eggs in gravel (2).Top
Blanco River Springs salamander range
The Blanco River Springs salamander was thought to be found only in the springs and caves of the Blanco River basin in Texas, United States. However, more recent evidence suggests that its range spreads beyond this, as far as Gillespie County (5).Top
Blanco River Springs salamander habitat
An aquatic species, the Blanco River Springs salamander is found only in freshwater, typically in spring outflows, spring runs or gravel substrates downstream of spring outlets. This species spends its entire life in water, never venturing onto land (3).The temperature of the water in its habitat stays fairly constant throughout the year, ranging from 18 to 20 degrees Celsius (2).Top
Blanco River Springs salamander status
The Blanco River Springs salamander is classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Blanco River Springs salamander threats
Very little is known about the elusive Blanco River Springs salamander. However, there are various threats affecting other species of lungless salamander in Texas that could also threaten the Blanco River Springs salamander.
The main threat faced by salamanders in springs in Texas is a probable decrease in water quality and quantity. The Blanco River Springs salamander lives in a small area of water, meaning that a decrease in water level or pollution of its natural habitat could seriously threaten the species, as has occurred for the related Texas salamander (Eurycea neotenes) and Cascade Caverns salamander (Eurycea latitans) (1).
Another known threat to the Blanco River Springs salamander is the capture of this species by humans for both public collections and use in experiments (6).Top
Blanco River Springs salamander conservation
The Blanco River Springs salamander has only been found in a few areas and its distribution is extremely limited, suggesting a small population overall. However, due to the lack of information on this species there are as yet no specific conservation measures in place (2).Top
Find out more
More information on the Banco River Springs Salamander:
Find out about amphibian conservation:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.