Rhamdia macuspanensis

Weber and Wilkens 1998

Rhamdia macuspanensis
Redrawn by Rhian Kendall from Weber and Wilkens (1998)






Holotype: ZMH 8874, 124.7mm SL, 150.8mm TL. Paratypes: ZMH 8875, 138mm SL, 168mm TL. ZMH 8876 (8 specimens, 78.3 - 135.9mm SL).


Known only from the type locality: Grutas de Agua Blanca, Balneario de Agua Blanca, on the road from Villahermosa to Chetumal, 20 km SE of the village of Macuspana, Tabasco, México (17o37’15.5”N, 92o28’22.6”W).


The cave stream runs over bare limestone but there are areas of sand and gravel. No food was seen when the type series was collected and it is likely that it arrived with flood events. The fishes were well fed with deposits of adipose tissue. Bat guano may also supply some supplies (Weber and Wilkens 1998). The stygobiootic crab Rodriguezia adani Alvarez and Villalobos 2018 is also found at this site (see Zoobank entry), as are the pseudothelphusid crab Odontothelphusa palenquensis, an undescribed species of Macrobrachium prawn, a Procambarus crayfish and asellid isopods (Alvarez and Villalobos 2018). These animals are likely to be food for R. macuspanensis.


A member of the Rhamdia laticauda species group (Weber 1996).

Arroyave and De La Cruz-Fernandez (2021) studied all four Mexican troglobitic Rhamdia (R. reddelli, R. zongolicensis, R. macuspanensis and R. laluchensis) with both genetics and morphology. They discovered that all four species are probably populations of the epigean Rhamdia laticauda but they refrained from making nomenclatural decisions, and thus placing all four as troglobitic populations of R. laticauda, until further data become available. The four species thus retain their current names for the timebeing (August 2021).

Conservation Status

TLO [NT:3.1:2019]

Arroyave, J. and Schmitter-Soto, J. 2019. Rhamdia macuspanensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T132660462A132661786. Downloaded on 04 February 2021.

Threatened (Contreras-Balderas et al. 2003)

Museum Holdings

As above only.

Key References

Williams, J.E., Johnson, J.E., Hendrickson, D.A., Conteras-Balderas, S., Williams, J.D., Navarro-Mondoza, M., McAllister, D.E. and Deacon, J.E. Journal Article 1989 Fishes of North America endangered, threatened or of special concern 1989
Wilkens, H. Journal Article 1991 Comparative study and phylogenetic age of epigean and cave forms of the genus Rhamdia (Pimelodidae, Teleostei)
Langecker, T.G. and Wilkens, H. Journal Article 1992 Comparative ultrastructural studies on the pineal organ of the Mexican catfish Rhamdia laticauda Heckel, 1858 and one of its cave-dwelling derivatives (Pimelodidae, Teleostei)
Junge, P. Journal Article 1992 Egg size and larval development of epigean and cave forms of Rhamdia guatemalensis (Pimelodidae, Pisces)
Wilkens, H. Journal Article 1993 A new species of Rhamdia (Pisces, Pimelodidae) from a cave in the Sierra de Zongolica (Veracruz, Mexico)
Wilkens, H. Journal Article 1993 Adaptation and phylogenetic age of Mexican epigean and cave Rhamdia (Pimelodidae)
Weber, A. Journal Article 1995 The lateral line system of epigean and cave dwelling catfishes of the genus Rhamdia (Pimelodidae, Teleostei) in Mexico
Silfvergrip, A.M.C. Book 1996 A systematic revision of the neotropical catfish genus Rhamdia (Teleostei, Pimelodidae)
Weber, A. Journal Article 1996 Cave dwelling catfish populations of the genus Rhamdia (Pimelodidae, Siluroidei, Teleostei) in Mexico
Weber, A. Journal Article 1998 Mexican cave catfish of the genus Rhamdia (Pimelodidae): notes on adaptation and distribution
Weber, A. and Wilkens, H. Journal Article 1998 Rhamdia macuspanensis: A new species of troglobitic pimelodid catfish (Siluriformes; Pimelodidae) from a cave in Tabasco, Mexcio
Wilkens, H. Journal Article 2001 Convergent adaptations to cave life in the Rhamdia laticauda catfish group (Pimelodidae, Teleostei)
Perdices, A., Bermingham, E., Montilla, A. and Doadrio, I. Journal Article 2002 Evolutionary history of the genus Rhamdia (Teleostei: Pimelodidae) in Central America
Contreras-Balderas, S, Almada-Villela, P, Lozano-Vilano, M de L and Garcia-Ramirez, ME Journal Article 2003 Freshwater fish at risk or extinct in Mexico
Weber, A Thesis 2003 Taxonomie und Artstatus hohlenbewohnender und oberirdischer Welse der Gattung Rhamdia (Pimelodidae, Teleostei) in Mexiko
Contreras-Balderas, S and others, 13 Journal Article 2008 Freshwater fishes and water status in México: A country-wide appraisal
Contreras-Macbeath, T., Rodriguez, M.B., Sorani, V., Goldspink, C., and McGregor Reid, G. Journal Article 2014 Richness and endemism of the freshwater fishes of Mexico
Palacios-Vargas, J.G., Juberthie, C. and Reddell, J. Book 2014-2015 Encyclopaedia Biospeologica Mexico
Alvarez, F. and Villalobos, J.L. Journal Article 2018 A new species of stygobitic freshwater crab of the genus Rodriguezia Bott, 1969 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Trichodactylidae) from Tabasco, Mexico
Scaglione, M.C., Cerutti, R.D., Arfuso, F. and Piccione, G. Journal Article 2018 Light and dark rations and the photic entrainment of circadian locomotor activity patterns in the South American Silver Catfish (Rhamdia quelen, Quoy & Gaimard, 1824)
Ricci, J.M.B.,Martinez, E.R.M., Butzge, A.J., Doretto, L.B., Oliveira, M.A., Bombardelli, R.A., Bogerd, J. and Nóbrega, R.H. Journal Article 2018 Characterization of vasa homolog in a neotropical catfish, Jundiá (Rhamdia quelen): Molecular cloning and expression analysis during embryonic and larval development
Koerber, S. and Reis, R.E. Journal Article 2019 The current situation of Rhamdia Bleeker, 1858 (Siluriformes: Heptapteridae) – Gather available information, define a zero point, and start all over again
Koerber, S. and Reis, R.E. Journal Article 2020 Evidence for the true type-locality of Rhamdia quelen (Siluriformes: Heptapteridae), and the geographical origin and invalid neotype designation of four of its synonyms
Warren, M.L. and Burr, B.M. Book 2020 Freshwater fishes of North America. Volume 2 Characidae to Poeciliidae
Thomas, M.R. and Sabaj, M.H. Book Section 2020 Heptapteridae: Seven-finned catfishes
Arroyave, J. and De La Cruz Fernández, D.A. Journal Article 2021 Genetic and morphological evidence cast doubt on the validity of Mexican troglobitic species of the Neotropical catfish genus Rhamdia (Siluriformes: Heptapteridae).