Metadata for the checklists and species accounts


Suprageneric classification and order of classification follow V4 of the phylogenetic classification of bony fishes (Betancur-R, Wiley, Arratia, Acero, Bailly, Miya, Lecointre and Ortí 2017). Generic placement generally follows Nelson, Grande and Wilson (2016) and Eschmeyer and Fong (2011).

Data on the following families has also been included:

Currently accepted name combinations are followed by their original author and date and by revisers (if any, following International Code of Zoological Nomenclature Recommendation 51G). Other names which have been used (synonyms, previous combinations and misidentifications) are indented and follow immediately after the current name for the species. Author names and dates in [square brackets] are for taxa which have not been formally described, and identify the source with most information about that particular taxon.


IUCN Red List categories and criteria

Where a conservation assessment has been carried out, and valid IUCN Red list categories and criteria have been assigned, details are included in superscript square brackets. The notation for this is as follows:

[Category and Criteria:Redlist Version number:Year of evaluation] e.g. [EN B2ab(iii):3.1:2014]. Each assesment is linked to the relevant Red List entry.

See for full details of these categories and the criteria by which they are defined.

The version of Categories and Criteria under which the species was assesed are given as follows:

Categories and Criteria V2.3: An early formulation published in 1994.

Categories and Criteria V3.1: The currently used formulation published in 2001.

The date (year) in which the assessment was made is provided after the version number.

In the USA and Brazil there are instances where assessments have been made using the IUCN Categories and Criteria (in all cases to V3.1) but where these have not been uploaded to the IUCN Red List web site. In these cases the IUCN assessment is provided first and the other assessment second. For the US species all assessments are included in Niemiller et al. (2013) and for the Brazilian species at:


Other Notation

Note: For the genus Sinocyclocheilus (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae) in China the lineage (clade) of each species is indicated by letters as follows: [A] angularis (13 species), [C] cyphotergous (14 species), [T] tingi (3 species). There are no known troglobiotic members of the fourth clade, jii. Information from Zhao and Zhang (2009), Romero, Zhao and Chen (2009), Chen, Luo, Xiao and Yang (2010), Zhao, Gozlan and Zhang (2011) and Yahui Zhao (pers. comm.).

References to the original description for all formally described species can be obtained from Eschmeyer, Fricke and van der Laan (2017). References to species in the list which have been reported in the literature, but not yet formally described [references in square backets] are provided in the searchable bibliography

DRC = Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), PNG = Papua New Guinea


The bibliography

Of course not all of the entries in the bibliography are solely concerned with aspects of subterranean fish biology. Some are studies relating to the physical and hydrological environment the fishes live in (e.g. Fish 2004), some to the biology of other animals in the fishes environment which may be part of the food supply (e.g. Silva et al. 2011). Generally speaking any refrerence source which could potentially enhance an understanding of the whole biology of the fish is included and the aim is always to include if even vaguely relevant rather than exclude.


The Classification of subterranean organisms

The following sources describe the terms used to differentiate between different ecological categories of subterranean animals: Sket (2008), Trajano (2012), Trajano and Carvalho (2017).


Museum acronyms

You can determine where specimens are depoisted using the search facility in Fricke and Eschmeyer’s (2017) Guide to fish collections in the Catalog of Fishes. Also, the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists list of Standard symbolic codes for institutional resource collections in herpetology and ichthyology.


Links within each species account

The name heading links to the Fishbase account for the species. Many of these accounts are very poorly populated and offer little that the species accounts here provide. However, they do offer links to the separate genera and species databases within the Catalog of Fishes. The first line of the account has an “Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.)” entry and these two links will go direct to the genera and species information within the Catlog of Fishes. The Family name links back to the species name in the checklist.


The images which illustrate the species accounts

A single click on any image will enable a full-screen view. This is particularly impressive where the image is a photograph.


Geographical distribution of cave and groundwater fishes

The geographical location of each species of cave and groundwater fishes are provided at the following two web sites as part of the Biofresh Project (Proudlove and De Wever 2017)

Maps and coordinates Zoom in on the map to get all geographical locations for these species. Click the green Occurrences button to get a list of coordinates.

Latitude and longitude data Go to the link, download the DwC-A file, unzip it, open the occurence.txt file in Excel, Open Office or Libre Office.


A note on molecular methods

A nomenclature for the use of molecular methods on type and non-type specimens is proposed by Chakrabarty, Warren, Page and Baldwin (2013).


Sources of information on fish biology

There are three web sites of incomparable value to the student of ichthyology: the Catalog of Fishes (Eschmeyer, Fricke, and van der Laan 2018) which is the authoritative sources on systematics and nomenclature, the Welt der Fische / World of Fishes (Schraml 2018) which provided very fast details of new species as they are published, and Fishbase (Froese and Pauly 2018). which provides details of many aspects of fish biology. The best two introductions to fish biology are Bond's Biology of Fishes (Barton 2007) and The Diversity of Fishes (Helfman, Collette, Facey and Bowen 2009). Helfman's Fish Conservation (Helfman 2007) is also a critical resource. A modern brief overview of cavefishes is provided by Borowsky (2018).


Sources of information for subterranean biology

The following books will provide a thorough grounding in all aspects of subterranean biology:

Gunn (2004)

Culver and White (2005)

White and Culver (2012)

Wilkens, Culver and Humphries (2000)

Culver and Pipan (2009, 2018)

Culver and Pipan (2014)


Sources of information for subterranean fishes

The following books will provide a thorough grounding in all aspects of subterranean fishes:

Tajano, Bichuette and Kapoor (2010)

Romero (2001)

Thines (1969)


Web based sources if information

International Society for Subterranean Biology (SIBIOS) and Facebook

William R. Elliott's web site


Currency of the details within this website

The aim is that the checklist, which forms the main route into the site, and acts as an index, will always be up to date, and where it is not it will be no more than one month out of date (easy to achieve using the invaluable World of Fish website). The species accounts will always be works in progress and will rarely, if ever, get to a status of up to date and complete as it is always possible to add further details. If you are interested in a particular species let me know and I will endevour to produce the most complete account as I can for that species. All pages within the site are date stamped with their last date of editing so you can see how old an account is.