Texas Troglobitic Water Slater - Edwards Aquifer Authority

Texas Troglobitic Water Slater

Texas Troglobitic Water Slater

Covered Species Information

Authored by Connor Helsel

The Texas troglobitic water slater (Lirceolus smithii) is a small crustacean known only to occur in the Edwards Aquifer in Central Texas. Due to its acute distribution, over extraction of water from the aquifer poses the largest risk to the Texas troglobitic water slater, and the species is petitioned for federal listing by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service due to the threat of habitat loss (USFWS 2009). The Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan’s Conservation Measures act in interest of the Texas troglobitic water slater’s survival through springflow management efforts such as Aquifer Storage and Recovery program and the Voluntary Irrigation Suspension Program Option.

Common name

Texas troglobitic water slater

Scientific name

Lirceolus smithii

Endangered Species Act status

Petitioned

Maximum size

Up to at least 3.7 mm (0.15 inches; Bowman & Longley, 1976).

Physical description and Life History

The Texas troglobitic water slater is an isopod and a member of the Asellidae crustacean family. Like many subterranean species, the Texas troglobitic water slater displays common adaptations for living in a dark environment in that it is small, blind, and unpigmented. The species has a slender thorax region with multiple, clearly segmented sections (pereopods), an antenna laden head twice as wide as long, five mandibles, and an unusually small tail (telson) section (Bowman & Longley, 1976).

The life history of the Texas troglobitic water slater is largely unknown.

Distribution

The Texas troglobitic water slater has only been collected in two locations in Hays County, Texas- from the artesian well at Texas State University, in San Marcos, and from drift samples at San Marcos Springs (Bowman & Longley, 1976; Gibson et al., 2008).

Habitat and Diet

Currently, little is known about Texas troglobitic water slater reproduction, life span, or habitat requirements in the wild.

References

Bowman, T. E., & Longley, G. (1976). Redescription and Assignment to the New Genus Lirceolus of the Texas Troglobitic Water Slater, Asellus Smithii (Ulrich) (Crustacea: Isopoda: Asellidae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 88(45), 489–496.

Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program. (2012). Habitat Conservation Plan (p. 414). https://www.edwardsaquifer.net/pdf/Final_HCP.pdf

Gibson, J. R., Harden, S. J., & Fries, J. N. (2008). Survey and Distribution of Invertebrates from Selected Springs of the Edwards Aquifer in Comal and Hays Counties, Texas. The Southwestern Naturalist, 53(1), 74–84. https://doi.org/10.1894/0038-4909(2008)53[74:SADOIF]2.0.CO;2

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (2009). Part 3 Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; partial 90-day finding on a petition to list 475 species in the southwestern United States as threatened or endangered with critical habitat; proposed rule. 74 Fed. Reg. 66866-66905 (Dec. 16, 2009) (to be codified at 50 C.F.R. pt. 17).

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (2013). Biological Opinion for the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program HCP (No. 21450-2010-F-0110). Ecological Services Field Office. Austin, TX.

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