A few weeks ago my husband and I were on our way to check out Wurstfest (if you’re not from Texas this is a huge German festival in New Braunfels that lasts 10 days and is packed full of beer, bratwurst, and lederhosen). We stopped by a park near the festival for the sole purpose of finding a salamander and I finally got to see my first salamander in Texas, the appropriately named Texas salamander (Eurycea neotenes). The salamander made me work for it though. I chased him around a little cove for probably closed to 20 minutes while he drove under tiny rocks and hind under similar colored pieces of wood. This is a wily little salamander as most teeny aquatic species are.
This species is fully aquatic and only gets about 2-4 inches long. If you’ve ever seen a two-lined salamander larva that’s what these guys look like except they never metamorphose and crawl out onto land. They retain their larval external gills (the feathery looking things on the side of their head) and their more fin like tail. This salamander is not as restricted in range and therefore not as rare as other local aquatic Eurycea species like the Jollyville Plateau salamander (Eurycea tonkawae, which is up for possible federal protected listing) and the Barton Springs salamander (Eurycea sosorum).
Though this little salamander gave me a run for my money the wet shoes, pant legs, and bottom we while wort it.