Jollyville Plateau Salamander (Eurycea tonkawae)
Where Listed: WHEREVER FOUND
The Jollyville Plateau salamander is a neotenic (does not transform into a terrestrial form) member of the family Plethodontidae. As neotenic salamanders, they retain external gills and inhabit aquatic habitats (springs, spring-runs, and wet caves) throughout their lives. The Jollyville Plateau salamander occurs in the Jollyville Plateau and Brushy Creek areas of the Edwards Plateau in Travis and Williamson Counties, Texas.
- States/US Territories in which the Jollyville Plateau Salamander, Wherever found is known to or is believed to occur: Texas
- US Counties in which the Jollyville Plateau Salamander, Wherever found is known to or is believed to occur: View All
- Additional species information
|Status||Date Listed||Lead Region||Where Listed|
|09/19/2013||Southwest Region (Region 2)||Wherever found|
» Federal Register Documents
No recovery information is available for the Jollyville Plateau Salamander.
» Critical Habitat
|Date||Citation Page||Title||Document Type||Status|
|08/20/2013||78 FR 51327 51379||Designation of Critical Habitat for the Austin Blind and Jollyville Plateau Salamanders; Final Rule||Final Rule||Final designated|
|01/25/2013||78 FR 5385 5403||Endangered Status for Four Central Texas Salamanders and Designation of Critical Habitat||Proposed Rule||Proposed|
|08/22/2012||77 FR 50767 50854||Endangered Status for Four Central Texas Salamanders and Designation of Critical Habitat||Proposed Rule||Not Required|
To learn more about critical habitat please see http://ecos.fws.gov/crithab
» Conservation Plans
» Life History
The Jollyville Plateau salamander�s spring-fed habitat is typically characterized by a depth of less than 1 ft (0.3 m) of cool, well oxygenated water (COA 2001, p. 128; Bowles et al. 2006, p. 118) supplied by the underlying Northern Segment of the Edwards Aquifer (Cole 1995, p. 33), the Trinity Aquifer (Johns 2012, COA, pers. comm.), or local alluvial sources (Johns 2012, COA, pers. comm.). The main aquifer that feeds this salamander�s habitat is generally small, shallow, and localized (Chippindale et al. 2000; p. 36; Cole 1995, p. 26). Jollyville Plateau salamanders are typically found near springs or seep outflows and likely require constant temperatures (Sweet 1982, pp. 433�434; Bowles et al. 2006, p. 117). Salamander densities are higher in pools and riffles and in areas with rubble, cobble, or boulder substrates rather than on solid bedrock (COA 2001, p. 128; Bowles et al. 2006, pp. 114�116). Jollyville Plateau salamanders move an unknown depth into the interstitial spaces (empty voids between rocks) within the substrate, using these spaces for foraging habitat and cover from predators (Cole 1995, p. 24; Pierce and Wall 2011, pp. 16�17). These spaces should have minimal sediment, as sediment fills interstitial spaces, eliminating resting places and also reducing habitat of the prey base (small aquatic invertebrates) (O�Donnell et al. 2006, p. 34). Jollyville Plateau salamanders have been observed under rocks, leaf litter, and other vegetation (Bowles et al. 2006, pp. 114�116). There was a strong positive relationship between salamander abundance and the amount of available rocky substrate (Bowles et al. 2006, p. 114). Salamanders were more likely to use larger rocks (larger than 2.5 inches (in) or 64 millimeters (mm)) compared to gravel (Bowles et al. 2006, p. 114, 116). If springs stop flowing and the surface habitat dries up, Jollyville Plateau salamanders are known to recede with the water table and persist in groundwater refugia until surface flow returns (Bendik 2011a, p. 31). Access to subsurface refugia allows populations some resiliency against drought events.
Jollyville Plateau salamander feeds on aquatic invertebrates that commonly occur in spring environments (reviewed in COA 2001, pp. 5�6). A stomach content analysis by the City of Austin demonstrated that this salamander preys on varying proportions of ostracods, copepods, mayfly larvae, fly larvae, snails, water mites, aquatic beetles, and stone fly larvae depending on the location of the site (Bendik 2011b, pers. comm.). In addition, flatworms were found to be the primary food source for the related Barton Springs salamander (Gillespie 2013, p. 5), suggesting that flatworms may also contribute to the diet of the Jollyville Plateau salamander if present in the invertebrate community.
Movement / Home Range
The Jollyville Plateau salamander occurs in the Jollyville Plateau and Brushy Creek areas of the Edwards Plateau in northern Travis and southern Williamson Counties, Texas (Chippindale et al. 2000, pp. 35�36; Bowles et al. 2006, p. 112; Sweet 1982, p. 433). Upon classification as a species, Jollyville Plateau salamanders were known from Brushy Creek and, within the Jollyville Plateau, from Bull Creek, Cypress Creek, Long Hollow Creek, Shoal Creek, and Walnut Creek drainages (Chippindale et al. 2000, p. 36). Since it was described, the Jollyville Plateau salamander has also been documented within the Lake Creek drainage (O�Donnell et al. 2006, p. 1). Jollyville Plateau salamanders are known from 1 cave in the Cypress Creek drainage and 15 caves in the Buttercup Creek cave system in the Brushy Creek drainage (Chippindale et al. 2000, p. 49; Russell 1993, p. 21; Service 1999, p. 6; HNTB 2005, p. 60). There are 106 known surface sites for the Jollyville Plateau salamander.
Little is known about the reproductive habits of this species in the wild. However, the Jollyville Plateau salamander is fully aquatic and, therefore, spends all of its life cycles in aquifer and spring waters. Eggs of central Texas Eurycea species are rarely seen on the surface, so it is widely assumed that eggs are laid underground(Gluesenkamp 2011, TPWD, pers. comm.; Bendik 2011b, COA, pers. comm.). The detection of juveniles in all seasons suggests that reproduction occur year-round (Bendik 2011a, p. 26). However, juvenile abundance of Jollyville Plateau salamanders typically increases in spring and summer, indicating that there may be relatively more reproduction occurring in winter and early spring compared to other seasons (Bowles et al. 2006, p. 116).
Jollyville Plateau salamanders respire through gills and permeable skin (Duellman and Trueb 1986, p. 217). Adult salamanders are about 2 inches (in)(5 centimeters (cm)) long (Chippindale et al. 2000, pp. 32�42). Surface-dwelling populations of Jollyville Plateau salamanders have large, well-developed eyes; wide, yellowish heads; blunt, rounded snouts; dark greenish-brown bodies; and bright yellowish-orange tails (Chippindale et al. 2000, pp. 33�34). Some cave forms of Jollyville Plateau salamanders, which are also entirely aquatic, exhibit caveassociated morphologies, such as eye reduction, flattening of the head, and dullness or loss of color (Chippindale et al. 2000, p. 37). Genetic analysis suggests a taxonomic split within this species that appears to correspond to major geologic and topographic features of the region (Chippindale 2010, p. 2). Chippindale (2010, pp. 5, 8) concluded that the Jollyville Plateau salamander exhibits a strong genetic separation between two lineages within the species: A ��Plateau�� clade that occurs in the Bull Creek, Walnut Creek, Shoal Creek, Brushy Creek, South Brushy Creek, and southeastern Lake Travis drainages; and a ��peripheral�� clade that occurs in the Buttercup Creek and northern Lake Travis drainages (Chippindale 2010, pp. 5�8). The study also suggests this genetic separation may actually represent two species (Chippindale 2010, pp. 5, 8).
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