Thermosphaeroma thermophilum


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Thermosphaeroma thermophilum
Species Authority: Richardson, 1897
Common Name(s):
English Socorro Isopod

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Extinct in the Wild ver 2.3
Year Published: 1996
Date Assessed: 1996-08-01
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Inland Water Crustacean Specialist Group
1994 Endangered (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Endangered (IUCN 1990)
1988 Insufficiently Known (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Endangered (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: T. thermophilum is restricted to Sedillo Spring, Socorro County, New Mexico.
Regionally extinct:
United States (New Mexico)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The effects of human changes to the spring have resulted in many bottlenecks in the population. In August 1988, the native population became extinct due to occlusion of a valve control system for surface discharge. This flow was re-established in September of that year and a captive-bred population from the University of New Mexico was introduced to the spring. Controlled propagation of isopods commenced in 1990 at the Socorro Isopod Propagation Facility (SIPF), Socorro. Additional captive populations now exist at the Albuquerque Biological Park (zoo), New Mexico Tech (Socorro) and Laboratory, Department of Game and Fish, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species occupies areas of Sedillo Spring which were modified in the twentieth century to supply water to the city of Socorro. The habitat consists of two small concrete pools with an inter-connecting pipe, and a narrow stream below the pools. T. thermophilum are most active during crepuscular hours. Their diet includes blue-green algae, detritus, aquatic insect larvae, and conspecifics.
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threats to this species include disruption of the thermal groundwater discharge of Sedillo Spring. The results from a variety of causes: adventitious woody root growth, surface mining practices, anthropogenic modification, and human vandalism. Over the last ten years, vandalism has become the main threat to the species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The isopod population and the Sedillo Spring habitat have undergone regular monitoring since November 1995. The species is included on the US Federal Endangered list (since 1978). The Socorro Isopod Propagational Facility (SIPF – Socorro) was developed in 1992 to establish a more secure isopod population and also to provide an opportunity for captive propagation and research.

Citation: Inland Water Crustacean Specialist Group 1996. Thermosphaeroma thermophilum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 30 March 2015.
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