Beginning with the “aquifer species” general habitat (photo location in lower left of the profile map above), the following slide shows the different species that can inhabit the aquifer. These range from blind salamanders to filter feeders and grazers. The arrows show the relationships in the food chain between these groups of species.
The cooler water temperatures (21°C) within the Edwards Aquifer near the Balcones fault zone are home to a high biodiversity of creatures which have been labeled as a “gold mine… of undiscovered species” (Fiers, 2000, Hydrobiologia) adapted to dark environments. The Texas Blind Salamander is the top predator in a food web of filter feeding, scavenging and detritivorous invertebrates which in turn are dependent on biofilms processing organic materials.
New subterranean aquatic species are being discovered. They are adapted to survive in deep and dark aquifers and many are not yet described or named.
Recently discoved in Jacob’s Well and John Knox Ranch, this blind Stygobromid crustacean could possibly be a new species. Biologists need to collect more specimens of this unusually small amphipod and conduct genetic analyses to find its nearest relatives.