Central Texas was the habitat of three new species of salamanders. A new study has shown that the region hides a whole world in which we live these reptiles.
These salamanders – and more than a dozen relatives live deep underground in a flooded network of channels passing through the porous rock of limestone in the Lone star state. And they may be at greater risk of extinction due to growing human activity.
Salamanders move through a hidden network of water channels in the aquifer system Edwards-Trinity, which extends to tens of thousands of square kilometers through West and Central Texas. The aquifer is one of the most biodiversity ecosystems groundwater on the planet. Some of its inhabitants are descendants living in the ocean of species that evolved after this area ceased to be part of the sea about 100 million years ago, says Tom DeWitt, lead author and defender of wildlife Austin.
Comparing the genetics of salamanders across the aquifer and through the border between species, his team found the existence of three unknown species, genetically distinct from any known relatives. The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.