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Eurycea rathbuni, Texas Blind Salamander
DigiMorph Staff - The University of Texas at Austin
Eurycea rathbuni
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Texas Memorial Museum (TNHC 51176)

Image processing: Mr. Stephen Roberson
Publication Date: 19 Apr 2004

Views: whole specimen | skull only


Eurycea rathbuni, the Texas blind salamander, is restricted in its distribution to the Balcones Escarpment of Hays County, Texas. It is a subterranean cave-dwelling salamander, coming to the surface only when water flow displaces it. The diet of E. rathbuni consists mainly of invertebrates such as shrimp, snails, and amphipods. Eurycea rathbuni is characterized by a number of features including a large head with a flattened snout, vestigial eyes beneath the skin surface, external gills, elongate limbs, and 12 costal grooves. This species is currently on the federal endangered species list.

Eurycea rathbuni formerly was called Typhlomolge rathbuni. Mitchell and Reddell (1965) proposed the placement of T. rathbuni in Eurycea, a placement supported by the phylogenetic analysis of Chippindale et al. (2000). Hillis et al. (2001) proposed that the name Typhlomolge be retained for the lineage consisting of the last common ancestor of E. rathbuni, E. robusta, and E. waterlooensis, and all of its descendants.

About the Species

This specimen (TNHC 51176), collected by D. M. Hillis and P. Chippindin in Hays Co., Texas, was made available to the University of Texas High-Resolution X-ray CT Facility for scanning by Dr. Timothy Rowe of the Department of Geological Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin. Funding for scanning was provided by a National Science Foundation Digital Libraries Initiative grant to Dr. Rowe.

Lateral view of skull

Dorsal view of skull

Ventral view of skull

About this Specimen

The specimen was scanned by Matthew Colbert on 12 February 2004 along the coronal axis for a total of 1138 1024x1024 pixel slices. Each slice is 0.0727 mm thick, with an interslice spacing of 0.0727 mm and a field of reconstruction of 19.5 mm.

About the


Belcher, D. L. 1988. Courtship behavior and spermatophore deposition by the subterranean salamander, Typhlomolge rathbuni (Caudata, Plethodontidae). Southwestern Naturalist 33:124-126.

Chippindale, P. T. 1995. Evolution, phylogeny, biogeography, and taxonomy of Central Texas spring and cave salamanders, Eurycea and Typhlomolge (Plethodontidae: Hemidactyliini). Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas.

Chippindale, P. T., A. H. Price, J. J. Wiens, and D. M. Hillis. 2000. Phylogenetic relationships and systematic revision of central Texas hemidactyliine plethodontid salamanders. Herpetological Monographs 14:1-80.

Hillis, D. M., D. A. Chamberlain, T. P. Wilcox, and P. T. Chippindale. 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.

Longely, G. 1978. Status of Typhlomolge (=Eurycea) rathbuni, the Texas blind salamander. Endangered Species Report 2. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albequerque New Mexico 2:1-45.

Mitchell, R. W., and J. R. Reddell. 1965. Eurycea tridentifera, a new species of troglobitic salamander from Texas and a reclassification of Typhlomolge rathbuni. Texas Journal of Science 23:343-362.

Petranka, J. W. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D. C.

Potter, F. E., and S. S. Sweet. 1981. Generic boundaries in Texas cave salamanders, and a redescription of Typhlomolge robusta (Amphibia: Plethodontidae). Copeia 1981:64-75.

Duellman, W. E., and L. Trueb. 1986. Biology of Amphibians. McGraw Hill, New York, New York, 670 pp.


A species profile for Eurycea rathbuni on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife website.

The Texas blind salamander on The Handbook of Texas. (Texas State Historical Association)

Eurycea rathbuni on AmphibiaWeb.

Information about Eurycea rathbuni on the Herps of Texas (Univ. of Texas at Austin).

Species account and images of E. rathbuni on the Animal Diversity Web (Univ. of Michigan Museum of Zoology).

& Links

None available.


To cite this page: DigiMorph Staff, 2004, "Eurycea rathbuni" (On-line), Digital Morphology. Accessed July 24, 2024 at http://digimorph.org/specimens/Eurycea_rathbuni/whole/.

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