Comal Springs Dryopid Beetle
ESA Status: Endangered Species
Description: A subterranean aquatic species from the family Dryopidae. Adult beetles are slightly pigmented with translucent skin and vestigial (non-functioning) eyes.
Size: Approximately one-eighth inch long.
Habitat: Comal Springs aquatic ecosystem. Due to their inability to swim, Comal Springs dryopid beetles appear to be restricted to headwaters of springs and spring runs.They have been collected from Spring Run 2 of Comal Springs and Spring Runs 3 and 4 leading to the Comal River. On their underside, a mass of small, unwettable hairs can befound which hold a thin air bubble, allowing for gas exchange to occur during respiration (Chapman 1982). As springflow decreases, dissolved oxygen levels decrease as well, preventing the beetle from effectively using this form of respiration. Therefore, the Federal Register (Federal Register 62:243, 1997) states that the dryopid beetle requires flowing, uncontaminated waters for survival.