Georgia Blind Salamander Bred in Captivity for the First Time at the San Antonio Zoo

click to enlarge Georgia Blind Salamander Bred in Captivity for the First Time at the San Antonio Zoo
Danté Fenolio
The San Antonio Zoo's Center for Conservation and Research has another achievement under its belt. The zoo is now home to ten hatchlings of the Georgia blind salamander (Eurycea wallacei), an imperiled amphibian native to the Floridan Aquifer, a massive subterranean body of water that runs below the states of Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

The successful reproduction of the salamander is the culmination of 11 years of work by the zoo's Vice President of Conservation and Research, Danté Fenolio, and Matthew Niemiller of the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Although the species is still being considered for listing on the federal Endangered Species List, it is considered a state-threatened species in Georgia due to its limited range and fragmented populations, as well as concerns about the aquifer's future water quality and quantity.
click to enlarge One week old Eurycea wallacei larvae - Danté Fenolio
Danté Fenolio
One week old Eurycea wallacei larvae
“Very little is known about the biology of this salamander and our Conservation & Research Center continues to find success in breeding these species that are at risk from disappearing from our planet” says Tim Morrow, President & CEO of San Antonio Zoo. “From this point, we can write the playbook on how to breed these species in the care of man and create assurance colonies.”

The best part? This research was partially funded by proceeds from the Conserveza Blonde Ale, a beer made in collaboration with Freetail Brewing Company to help support conservation efforts at the zoo. You can grab it on tap at Freetail's Brewpub right now.

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