Posts Tagged 'blind salamanders'

Animal Updates – June 21

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

Blind Salamanders on Exhibit! 

Our blind salamanders are adjusting well to their new exhibit space at our DC venue! Since first receiving the set of salamanders back in September, our herpetologist Calvin Weaver has been hard at work re-creating the cave habitat in San Marcos, Texas where this species can be found.

blind salamanders

Did you know? Since this species has evolved underwater in these cave habitats, they have no need for functional eyes or even skin pigments. They are also the only species of salamander to keep their gills (which allow them to breathe underwater) their entire lives. Other species of salamanders will lose them as adults, when they move onto land.

blind cave salamanders

Sadly, the only viable habitat for these salamanders is being seriously threatened by both water quality degradation and the increased draining of  San Marco’s aquifer for city use. They are now considered critically endangered by the state of Texas.

Many conservation groups have made breeding these animals a priority. We’re very excited to be one of the first organizations to receive some of these successfully-bred animals!

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!


Animal Update – October 12

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

We’ve added three lumpfish to our Stellwagen Bank exhibit! 

Lumpfish can be abundantly found in the cold waters of the North Atlantic – from Norway and Iceland to the New England coast. While the species has been an important food source for European countries, it is seldom consumed in the United States.

Lumpfish are primarily bottom-dwellers. Their pelvic fins are modified into a suction disk so you will most spot them attached to one of the vertical walls.

The species ranges in color from a bluish gray to an olive green or dark brown, they can be distinguished by the wart-like growths that cover their skin.

In many cases, lumpfish have been successfully trained by institutions to perform behaviors like swimming through a hoop. As our lumpfish become more comfortable in their new home, we hope to begin working with them on these types of enrichment.

Endangered Texas blind salamanders! 

Recently, we introduced you to our new Texas blind salamanders. We’re happy to report that they are progressing well through the quarantine process!

This species can only be found in one place in the world – a cave near San Marcos, Texas

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Animal Update – September 14

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

Endangered Blind Salamanders Come to DC

Our DC venue has received two Texas blind salamanders! This species of salamander can only be found in one place in the entire world – the Edwards Aquifer near San Marcos, Texas. Because they live their entire lives underground in an underwater cave, they have no eyes!

These are critically endangered animals. Degrading water conditions and overuse of water is severely threatening their only habitat. As a result, the preservation of this species and its habitat has become a top priority for conservation groups.

Very little is known about this species. We are excited to have the opportunity to study their behavior and development more! The salamanders will be in our behind-the-scenes back up area, as they acclimate to their new home but we’ll update you when they’re ready to go on-exhibit.

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!


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