Astyanax aeneus

(Günther 1860)

Astyanax aeneus
The skull of epigean (a) and troglomoprphic (b) Astyanax aeneus (from Espinasa et al. 2001)


Espinasa, Rivas-Manzana and Espinosa Perez (2001) describe a stygobitic, hypogean population from Mexico and the following details relate only to the hypogean animals.






This species has not yet been described as new so there are no types. The best current description is in Espinasa, Rivas-Manzana and Espinosa Perez (2001).


“Type locality” of the hypogean animals: Gruta de las Granadas, north-east of Taxco, Guerrero, southern México (18o34’30”N, 99o33’7”W). The stream flowing from the cave is a tributary of the Amacuzac River. Known also from Resumidero La Joya in the same area (Espinasa 2018).


The collection site is a cave passage 180m long to a sump pool. The cave is a resurgence and water flows out of it all year round. Within the cave there is a mixed population of the stygomorphic, presumably stygobitic, animals and ordinary surface animals. Only about 10% of the population are stygomorphic. This suggests that their true habitat is undiscovered and lies further into the cave.


From the few data available it appears that the stygomorphic animal is a separate taxon from the epigean animals and that it is currently hybridising at the collection site. This situation is analogous to that of Astyanax jordani in La Cueva Chica (Breder 1942) and perhaps Poecilia mexicana and Rhamdia urichi at their only known sites. Should this turn out to be the case a new name would be appropriate to differentiate the taxon.

Conservation Status


The hypogean population of this species is currently known from only two sites and is therefore VU D2 at least.

Museum Holdings

None known.

Key References

Zeitlin, S. M. and McDevitt, D. S. Journal Article 1973 Flourescent antibody study of the developing lens of the blind cave fish
Espinasa, L. Journal Article 1986 Exploraciones biospeleologicas en Guerrero
Espinasa, L., Rivas-Manzano, P. and Perez, H.E. Journal Article 2001 A new blind cave fish population of genus Astyanax: Geography, morphology and behaviour
Mirande, J.M. Journal Article 2010 Phylogeny of the family Characidae (Teleostei: Characiformes): from characters to taxonomy
Espinasa, L. Conference Paper 2011 Promoting undergraduate research in large classrooms: Guerrero cave Astyanax - Old or young colonisation?
Esquivel-Bobadilla, S Thesis 2011 Análisis genético de Astyanax mexicanus (Characidae, Teleostei, Pisces) de la vertiente atlántica de México usando microsatélites.
Pazza, R., Bertollo, L.A.C., de Almeida-Toledo, L.F. and Kavalco, K.F. Conference Paper 2013 Molecular systematics of the genus Astyanax - Starter edition
Palacios-Vargas, J.G., Juberthie, C. and Reddell, J. Book 2014-2015 Encyclopaedia Biospeologica Mexico
Silva, D. M. Z. A., Utsunomia, R., Pansonato-Alves, J.C., Oliveira, C. and Foresti, F. Journal Article 2015 Chromosomal mapping of repetitive DNA sequences in five species of Astyanax (Characiformes, Characidae) reveals independent location of U1 and U2 snRNA sites and association of U1 snRNA and 5S rDNA
Schmitter-Soto, J.J. Journal Article 2016 A phylogeny of Astyanax (Characiformes: Characidae) in Central and North America
Schmitter-Soto, J.J. Journal Article 2017 A revision of Astyanax (Characiformes: Characidae) in Central and North America, with the description of nine new species
Elliott, W.R. Book 2018 The Astyanax Caves of Mexico: Cavefishes of San Luís Potosí, Tamaulipas, and Guerrero
Pazza, R., Dergam, J.A. and Kavalco, K.F. Journal Article 2018 Trends in karyotype evolution in Astyanax (Teleostei, Characiformes, Characidae): Insights from molecular data.
Espinasa, L. Book Section 2018 The Guerrero fish population: Astyanax aeneus as a comparative cavefish model
Mirande, J.M. Journal Article 2018 Morphology, molecules and the phylogeny of Characidae (Teleostei, Characiformes)
Borowsky, R., Luk, A., He, X.J. and Kim, R.S. Journal Article 2018 Unique sperm haplotypes are associated with phenotypically different sperm subpopulations in Astyanax fish
Devitsina, G.V. and Golovkina, T.V. Journal Article 2018 Structural Organization of the Taste Apparatus in Characins (Characidae, Teleostei
Pastana, M.N.L., Bockmann, F.A. and Datovo, A. Journal Article 2019 The cephalic lateral-line system of Characiformes (Teleostei: Ostariophysi): anatomy and phylogenetic implications
Warren, M.L. and Burr, B.M. Book 2020 Freshwater fishes of North America. Volume 2 Characidae to Poeciliidae
Terán, G.E., Benitez, M.F. and Mirande, J.M. Journal Article 2020 Opening the Trojan horse: phylogeny of Astyanax, two new genera and resurrection of Psalidodon (Teleostei: Characidae)
Mercado-Silva, N., Ornelas-Garcia, C.P., Schmitter-Soto, J.J., Gidmark, N.J. and Simons, A.M. Book Section 2020 Characidae: Characins
Schmitter-Soto, J.J. Journal Article 2021 New lectotype designation for Astyanax aeneus (Teleostei, Characidae)
Levels of eye development in the Granadas cave population: a – eyeless, b – sunken eye, c – reduced pupil, d – eyed. Pictures c and d are of the same animal and show asymmetrical development. From Espinasa et al. (2001)