Checklist of interstitial fishes

In addition to fishes which inhabit the relatively large conduits of caves (which by definition are enterable by humans), and those in the relativley small conduits of groundwater aquifers, there is another group which live substantially, or obligately, in the sediments on the beds of rivers. Many of these fishes develope some degree of troglomorphy, as a result of life in darkness, and can thus legitimately be considered as subterranean fishes. The habitat has several names including the interstitial, the psammophillic ("sand loving") and the meiobenthos. We will here use the first of these names. Although no vertebrates are mentioned within it the most critical source for this habitat is Giere (2009). Other valuable sources are Rundle, Robertson and Schmid-Araya (2002), Higgins and Thiel (1988), Heip (1984), Shields and Malcolm (2009) and Wood, Hannah and Sadler (2007). Schmid and Schmid-Araya (2002) discuss the value of invertebrate meiofauna as food for fishes and this is clearly of importance to permanently interstitial fishes. The International Association of Meiobenthology have a useful website.

As currently understood only two subfamilies of the Trichomycteridae (all in freshwater) and one genus of the Gobiidae (all marine) have permanently interstitial representatives and the marine Luciogobius species have remakable adaptations to the spine to allow then easier access to the restricted environment (Yamada et al. 2009).

Species accounts for all of the interstitial fishes have yet to be written but will be written as time allows.

Total: 35 species

Order: Siluriformes (20 species)

Suborder: Loricarioidei (20 species)

Family: Trichomycteridae (20 species)

Sub Family: Glanapteryginae (11 species)

Glanapteryx anguilla [NE] Brazil, Venezuela
Pygidianops cuao [NE] Venezuela
Pygidianops magoi [NE] Brazil
Typhlobelus guacamaya [NE] Venezuela
Typhlobelus lundbergi [NE] Venezuela

Sub Family: Sarcoglanidinae (9 species)

Ammoglanis pulex [NE] Venezuela
Microcambeva draco [NE] Brazil

Order: Gobiiformes (15 species)

Suborder: Gobioidei (15 species)

Family: Gobiidae (15 species)