Threatened and Endangered Species in Comal County
Currently, seven federally listed endangered species occur in Comal County, Texas. The listed endangered species include: two aquatic insects, the Comal Springs Dryopid Beetle (Stygoparnus comalensis) and the Comal Springs Riffle Beetle (Heterelmis comalensis); one crustacean, Peck’s Cave Amphipod (Stygobromus pecki); one fish, the Fountain Darter (Etheostoma fonticola); and three birds, the golden-cheeked warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia), black-capped vireo (Vireo atricapilla), and whooping crane (Grus americana). The Comal County RHCP will seek to include the golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo as covered species. The other listed species, while not covered under the plan, will likely benefit from the conservation actions established for the RHCP.
The golden-cheeked warbler is a migratory songbird that nests in Central Texas, including Comal County. The golden-cheeked warbler builds nests of juniper or cedar bark then binds them with collected spider webs. They winter in Central America. Additional information about the golden-cheeked warbler can be found here.
Evaluation Species of Concern (The Watch List)
Species in this category are not presently listed, but are either currently suggested to be listed in petitions to the Service, or are sufficiently rare and/or endemic within Comal County that there is a reasonable probability that they may be listed in the future. At this time the following species are included on the list of Evaluation Species of Concern:
- A cave obligate decapod (Palaemonetes holthuisi)
- A cave obligate amphipod (Seborgia hershleri)
- A cave obligate amphipod (Texiweckelia relicta)
- A cave obligate beetle (Rhadine insolita)
- A cave obligate harvestman (Texella brevidenta)
- A cave obligate spider(Cicurina puentecilla)
- A cave obligate spider (Cicurina reclusa)
- Nymph Trumpet (Phreatoceras taylori)
- Cagle’s map turtle (Graptemys caglei)
Incidental take authorization for species of concern in this category may become necessary over the term of the Comal County RHCP incidental take permit; however, including these species as “covered” is not justified at this time. Too many uncertainties exist regarding these species’ distribution and biology, and there is a general lack of scientific information that could support the level of analysis required to meet the issuance criteria for incidental take authorization. However, the Comal County RHCP may include conservation measures that would benefit some of these evaluation species. Conservation measures including research, community educational efforts on behalf of threatened and endangered species, and establishment of forest preserves may help preclude the need to list some of these species, or help facilitate obtaining incidental take coverage if it is reasonable to assume that take coverage is likely to be needed and these species become listed in the future.
Four aquatic, or “aquifer” species, Peck's cave amphipod (Stygobromus pecki), Comal Springs riffle beetle (Heterelmis comalensis), Comal Springs dryopid beetle (Stygoparnus comalensis), and Fountain darter (Etheostoma fonticola) are endangered species also known to occur in Comal County, but we do not anticipate that the County will require incidental take authorization under this RHCP. It is our understanding that the on-going Recovery Implementation Program for Edwards Aquifer Species will eventually establish “take” and mitigation criteria for the listed aquifer species and those species need not be considered as covered species in the Comal County RHCP.