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.
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 Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas.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).