December 25, 2011 · Uncategorized

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I have been trying to establish a conservation program for the Georgia Blind Salamander (Haideotriton wallacei) and for the Dougherty Plains Cave Crayfish (Cambarus cryptodytes) at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. We finally landed the funds and set up a small facility to accommodate live animals. The idea is that we will try to develop husbandry and breeding protocols before the salamander and crayfish are in dire shape. We will also learn about behaviors, growth rate, reproductive output, etc. The aquifer that these species live in is threatened by fertilizer contamination according to the USGS. With the facility at the Garden ready, we used cave divers to collect live specimens. I’ve provided some of those images below. I hope you enjoy the shots of these rare aquifer inhabitants!

Our cave diving team...Ben Martines (left), Kelly Jessop (middle left) the Steins (middle right and right).  Without cave divers, we simply wouldn't have a study.  I can't thank them enough.

Our cave diving team...Ben Martinez (left), Kelly Jessop (middle left) and the Stines (middle right and right). Without cave divers, we simply wouldn't have a study. I can't thank them enough.

Our cave divers prepare to make a dive in a blue hole.

Our cave divers prepare to make a dive in a blue hole.

Our divers at a site in Florida, preparing to make a cave dive.

Our divers at a site in Florida, preparing to make a cave dive.

One of the flooded caves we sent the divers into is a lake from above with cypress trees.

One of the flooded caves we sent the divers into is a lake from above with cypress trees.

The Dougherty Plains Cave Crayfish (Cambarus cryptodytes) is also known as the Apalachicola Cave Crayfish.

The Dougherty Plains Cave Crayfish (Cambarus cryptodytes) is also known as the Apalachicola Cave Crayfish.

(Cambarus cryptodytes)

(Cambarus cryptodytes)

The Georgia Blind Salamander (Haideotriton wallacei).

The Georgia Blind Salamander (Haideotriton wallacei).

(Haideotriton wallacei)

(Haideotriton wallacei)

(Haideotriton wallacei)

(Haideotriton wallacei)

(Haideotriton wallacei)

(Haideotriton wallacei)

Head shape is variable

Head shape is variable

One of our cave divers returns to the surface with Georgia Blind Salamanders and Dougherty Plain Cave Crayfish

One of our cave divers returns to the surface with Georgia Blind Salamanders and Dougherty Plain Cave Crayfish

My close friend and collaborator, Matt Niemiller, holds up a bag of Georgia Blind Salamanders.

My close friend and collaborator, Matt Niemiller, holds up a bag of Georgia Blind Salamanders.

Every now and again, the cave divers find a large Georgia Blind Salamander.

Every now and again, the cave divers find a large Georgia Blind Salamander.

A close up of the large female

A close up of the large female

Checking water chemistry at the mouth of a spring

Checking water chemistry at the mouth of a spring

One of the largest Dougherty Plain Cave Crayfish any of us have ever seen

One of the largest Dougherty Plain Cave Crayfish any of us have ever seen

Collecting data after the cave divers have brought a group od salamanders to the surface

Collecting data after the cave divers have brought a group od salamanders to the surface

More to come before too long…

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5 comments on “A Conservation Program for the Georgia Blind Salamander”

  1. Todd Pierson:

    This rocks.


  2. Dante:

    Thanks Todd. I am giving this one my all. I’d like to have captive bred Haideotriton at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. I have the animals eating three kinds of frozen fish foods so far!


  3. Jasper:

    Do you have these salamanders on display at the Atlanta Botanical Garden?
    JPL


  4. Juan Castillo:

    How are the salamanders doing?
    Juan


  5. Dante:

    Hi Juan-we are still working with GA Blind Salamanders and hope to breed them in captivity soon. We did have some luck with the blind crayfish and had them produce a clutch of offspring in the lab.

    Cheers & Thanks-Dante


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