Named for its rolling hills, the Hill Country’s landscape is shaped by aquifers and springs that channel groundwater. These essential waters are home to several Texas Treasures (aquatic wildlife), found nowhere else. Known for their vulnerable, permeable skin, salamanders are exceptional indicators of ecosystem health. The Texas blind salamander, Austin blind salamander, Jollyville Plateau salamander, and Barton Springs salamander all depend on a constant supply of clean, cool water from aquifers and springs. Deep in the depths of aquifers lives another kind of indicator species, a more unique animal. While the Toothless blindcat and Widemouth blindcat dwell in the Edwards aquifer and the Mexican blindcat dives within the Edwards-Trinity aquifer, all three have fully adapted to total darkness. As their name implies, they are eyeless catfishes that lack skin pigmentation since they are not exposed to sunlight. These bizarre, yet charming creatures are top predators in their ecosystems and are important indicators of the health of our groundwater. Save Our Texas Treasures aims to raise awareness around unique Texas aquatic species, promote education of water conservation actions, and advocate for the protection of these imperiled aquifer and spring dwellers. 


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