Subterranean fishes of the world
Eidinemacheilus proudlovei Freyhof, Abdullah, Ararat, Ibrahim and Geiger 2016.


This web site is effectively the second edition of my book on the subterranean fishes of the world (Proudlove 2006). It follows very much the same structure and content and its main aim is to provide an always-up-to-date checklist of the cave and groundwater fishes of the world and detailed species accounts for all species. A fully searchable bibliography of 4400+ entries is also provided. A secondary aim is to provide checklists for the interstitial fishes and for troglomorphic fishes from non-subterranean habitats, and species accounts when time allows these to be prepared. One or two other lists and/or notes may appear if I find them of interest and relevance. Each species account has a Metadata link which takes you to a page describing the methods used, the notation and various other essential guides to using the site effectively.

There are currently 276 species of cave and groundwater fishes, 41 species of interstitial fishes and 46 species with troglomorphic features from non-subterranean habitats (total 363 species).

As of May 2018 the searchable bibliography (currently at 4798 entries) is jointly authored by Graham Proudlove and William R. Elliott.

Important note:  It will take me while to get all of the species accounts fully populated. If you are interested in a particular species let me know and I'll prioritise it.

Comments, corrections, additions etc. to me at g.proudlove[at]

V1.0 edited Wednesday 9th June 2021

Recent additions

Important thesis (Farley 2021) on the development of troglomorphy in fishes and Crustacea

New book on the genus Sinocyclocheilus available from April 2021. Link to buying a copy

The species account for an apparently cave species of Pangasiidae has been removed.

Triplophysa wulongensis new from China.

A paper on inactivation of eye genes in Lamprologus lethops (Cichlidae) email distribution list created. Mail me to be added.

Very interesting preprint on development in Astyanax by Torres-Paz and Retaux (2021)

Major update to the species account for Cottus specus

A special edition of Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part B Molecular and Developmental Evolution devoted to Astyanax research

A new paper on Phreatobius cisternarum with work from a new group of researchers (Perez et al. 2020). See also Liu, Schneider and Taylor (2019)

A number of name changes in the Family Synbranchidae (both subterranean and non-subterranean lists) after information in Britz et al. 2020

Excellent presentation by Professor Daphne Soares on The Secret Lives of Cavefishes

A number of modern commentaries on cave research added to the Metadata section

A new Family, Aenigmachannidae, is errected for Aenigmachanna gollum and A. mahabali (Britz et al. 2020).

Henicorhynchus thaitui newly described from Vietnam by Nguyen, Ho, Hoang, Wu and Zhang (2020), Also a revision of the genus Henicorhynchus (Ciccotto and Page 2020).

Very significant revision of the biogeography of Astyanax jordani by Espinasa et al. (2020)

Updated the Red List entries for cave Luciogobius species and added Red List assessments to the bibliography

Major new study of the phylogeny and evolution of the genus Sinocyclocheilus by Mao et al. (2020)

Another major review of the biology of Astyanax jordani by Jeffery (2020)

A critically important paper by Horst Wilkens - this is a must read and understand paper for anyone interested in, or working on, subterranean fishes

Important new book on North American freshwater fishes with extensive chapters on Characidae (Mercado-Silva et al. 2020, 22 pages), Ictaluridae (Burr, Warren and Bennett 2020, 78 pages), Heptapteridae (Thomas and Sabaj 2020, 25 pages), Amblyopsidae (Adams, Burr and Warren 2020, 41 pages) and Poeciliidae (Ghedotti et al. 2020, 65 pages).

A paper on the world's largest subterranean fish published

There are several new books and papers that are relevant:

Cave ecology edited by Moldovan, Kováč and Halse (2018)

The biology of caves and other subterranean habitats (Second edition) by Culver and Pipan (2019)

Encyclopedia of caves (Third edition) edited by White, Culver and Pipan (2019) includes chapters on cave fishes (Niemiler et al. 2019) and cave fishes in China (Ma et al. 2019)

And an important book and paper on potential food supply for subterranean organisms:

Microbial life of cave systems edited by Engel (2015)

Microbial communities and activities in caves