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 5800+ entries (1436 - date) is also provided.

There are also two secondary aims: One is to provide checklists and species accounts for the interstitial fishes and for troglomorphic fishes from non-subterranean habitats. The second is to provide a checklist and species accounts for the other obligate-subterranean vertebrates, which are all Amphibia. This second aim is work in progress and species accounts will appear in due course.

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 310 species of cave and groundwater fishes, 53 species of interstitial fishes, 55 species with troglomorphic features from non-subterranean habitats (418 fishes) and 25 troglobitic Amphibia (total 443 obligate subterranean vertebrates).

Comments, corrections, additions etc. to me at g.proudlove[at] email distribution list created. Mail me to be added.

V1.0 edited Thursday 4th July 2024

Recent additions

A critically important review paper on fishes in marine caves (scroll down) has been published by Kovacic et al. 2024

I missed a critical book about Proteus from 2019 (Saric et al. 2019). This is now added to the bibliography as are all 33 of its chapters and appendices individually. You can find the entries for all of these by using the Publisher as the search term (Association Hyla)

The bibliography now exceeds 5800 entries

Sinocyclocheilus guiyang Shao, Cheng, Lu, Zhou and Zeng 2024 new from China

Entry for Caecobarbus edited with information about new cave discoveries in 2023

Important new book on Caecobarbus geertsii in the Congo (Kimbembi ma Ibaka  2023)

Protocobitis longicostatus new from China (Zhou et al. 2024).

Four new species of Triplophsa added from caves in China (Luo et al. 2023). However, only one of these is troglomorphic so only it is included here

Important preprint on Habitat correlates of cave-dwelling: A radiation-scale analysis of skin traits and comparative transcriptomics of the Sinocyclocheilus cavefish (Luo et al. 2023)

Very important paper on the phylogeography and evolution of cave and surface Astyanax (Garduño-Sánchez et al. 2023)

Troglomorphic populations of Rhamdia laticauda and Rhamdia guatemalensis discovered by Buenavad-González et al. (2023)

Two Texan subterranean fishes proposed as Endangered species: Federal Register 2023, US Fish and Wildlife Service 2023

New paper from Horst Wilkens

Important paper on the whole Chinese subterranean fish fauna Wu et al. 2023

The first troglobitic fish from the Dinaric karst (?), see Cupic et al. 2023

Sinocyclocheilus  xingyiensis new from China

There are 12 relevant papers, in several Journals, united under the overall title of Adaptations-to-subterranean-environments. Four are about fishes and the other eight are also of value

The species Troglonectes canlinensis take the total of known subterranean fishes to 300

A new location, and a new genetic population, for Troglichthys rosae (Mouser et al. 2023).

New book on Groundwater Ecology and Evolution (Malard, Griebler and Retaux 2023). One of the most important books on subterranean biology ever published. Essential reading for all involved in any aspect of this subject. All chapters are entered into the bibliography and they can be retrived with a key-word search of Groundwater Ecology and Evolution

New location for Astyanax (Miranda-Gamboa et al. 2023)

New book (Wynne 2022) with a chapter on Chinese subterranean fishes (Zhao et al. 2022) and one on subterranean salamanders (Niemiller et al. 2022)

A New paper from Richard Borowsky has important implications for the evolution of troglomorphy: "It has been argued that regression of eyes and pigmentation was driven by drift, but the results of this study suggest that strong selection actively eliminates surface alleles from the cave populations".

The worlds largest subterranean fish, by far, named as Neolissochilus pnar Dahanukar, Sundar, Rangad, Proudlove and Raghavan 2023

The Bibliography. which is a central part of this web site, was begun in 1979. Today it has just reached 5500 entries

Using information from Zhao, Zhang and Proudlove (2021) and Xu et al. (2023) I have removed four species of styglophylic Sinocyclocheilus from the list. There are currently 34 valid nominal species of stygobites in the genus plus S. "xiaotunensis" which is probably a stygobite but is not yet vaildly named. There are 39 stygophile species in the genus making 74 species in total

Two important new chapters on the subterranean fishes of Madagascar - Sparks and Chakrabarty 2022, Chakrabarty, Byrnes and Sparks 2022

Eight new Astyanax chapters in a recent book. Use keyword search Emerging model organisms, with date of 2023, to get citations for all eight

Prietella lundbergi may not be in the genus Prietella and probably needs a new genus of its own (Hendrickson et al. 2022). It is curenly left in Prietella until more information is available

Important paper on phylogeographic relationships and morphological evolution between cave and surface Astyanax mexicanus populations (Garduno et al. 2022)

Important thesis on evolution of the eye in Astyanax mexicanus: contribution of maternal and early developmental regulations (Leclercq 2022) - but not freely available until  26-09-2024

Numerous species of Nemacheilidae moved from various genera into Troglonectes to conform to Catalog of Fishes. More work yet required on the species accounts

Recent chapter on the subterranean fishes of Brazil (Bichuette 2022)

CaveCrawler: An interactive analysis suite for cavefish bioinformatics. A new, and probably highly valuable tool (see Perry et al. 2022 for details)

Retaux (2022) a mini-review of eye-loss in cave fishes

Reier et al (2022) is probably the most important recent paper on the fishes in the Dinaric karst.

Triplophysa qini new from China (Deng et al. 2022)

Panjio pathala new from India (Sundar et al. 2022)

Some major additions to the account for Troglocobitis starostini

Aenigmachanna mahabali is a synonym of Aenigmachanna gollum (Raghavan et al. 2022)

Probably the most important paper yet published on the conservation of subterranean habitats.

I overlooked an important Symposium of the evolution of eye loss (Porter and Sumner-Rooney (2018): Evolution in the Dark: Unifying our Understanding of Eye Loss) from 2018. Papers from it were published in Integrative and Comparative Biology 58 (2018). All citations are now in the bibliography and you can find all ten of them by using a key-word search of Eye Loss Symposium.

With the addition of all papers that were presented at the 2022 AIM Meeting the number of references in the bibliography relating to cave Astyanax has reached 1000. The total for all subterranean and other troglomorphic fishes is 5080, so this represents ~20% of all known sources.

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