Journal Article

A long‑ignored unique ecosystem of cavefishes in the southern karst: achievements, challenges, and prospects

Wu, L., Fan, C., Lan, C., Yu, J., Wen, H., Yang, Q., Xiao, N. and Zhou, J.

Record Number:
Environmental Science and Pollution Research
Cavefishes represent a taxon that has experienced natural selection pressures. This paper summarizes the results with respect to the taxonomy, diversity, phylogeny, and adaptation aspects of cavefishes research. It showed that: 1) These studies suggest that cavefishes play important roles in the study of geologic history and adaptation to extreme environments, but the mechanisms involved 168 species of cavefishes belonging to 17 genera, four families, and two orders have been recorded in China. Meanwhile, more new species are being discovered recently, and the species diversity of cavefishes are still underestimated, indicating the need to strengthen the survey in field. 2) The biogeography of cavefishes have focused on Sinocyclocheilus and Triplophysa, that have helped understand the geomorphology of karst areas in southern China and the spatial pattern of species diversity. These studies revealed the influences of evolution and geological history in Sinocyclocheilus, but there are still many species that have not been studied accordingly. 3) Some adaptive mechanistic studies have been conducted on cavefishes, primarily focusing on eye and body color degradation and energy metabolism in the genus Sinocyclocheilus to reveal adaptive mechanisms in the dark environment. 4) The IUCN list of protected cavefishes species in China only includes 21 species. The List of Key Protected Wild Animals for 2021 includes all species of Sinocyclocheilus as National Class II.It is necessary to strengthen the research on the biodiversity and adaptation and need consider the conservation actions for cavefishes.
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