Prietella lundbergi

Walsh and Gilbert 1995







Only a holotype has been assigned: UNAM 7705, 45.2mm SL, female.


Type locality: Nacimiento de San Rafael de Los Castros, c. 15 km WNW of Ciudad Mante, Tamaulipas State, México (22o45’N, 99o05’W). This thermal resurgence cave is situated in the Sierra de El Abra (part of the Sierra Madre Oriental range). Epigean, eyed, Astyanax mexicanus, have been recorded from The Nacimiento de San Rafael de Los Castros (Mitchell, Russell and Elliott 1977).  P. lundbergi has now been discovered in Cueva del Nacimiento del Río Frío, Tamaulipas (Hendrickson, Krejca and Rodriguez Martinez 2001).


The true habitat of this animal is not known. The holotype was collected from a depth of 4.5m at top of a deep, thermal (26.7oC), vauclusian rising. The substrate at this point was of silt and bedrock. In normal conditions this rising is not active but after rain it does resurge. It is possible that this outward flow will transport individuals from their true habitat which is deeper into the cave. Since two other hypogean ictalurids, Trogloglanis pattersoni and Satan eurystomus, are found in very deep artesian waters is in quite possible that P. lundbergi is also ‘speleo-bathyal’.


Most closely related to its hypogean congener Prietella phreatophila which is, however, found over 600 km away. Detailed studies the four North and Central American troglobitic ictalurids Satan eurystomus, Trogloglanis pattersoni, Prietella phreatophila and P. lundbergi  by Arce et al. (2017) suggest that they form a monophyletic group with fifteen synapomorphies: 1. Absence of eyes, 2. depigmentation, 3. Fifth vertebra, 4. Lateral line extent, 5. Mesethmoid cornua, 6. Anterior cranial fontanel, 7. Descending wing of frontal, 8. Supraoccipital posterior process, 9. Pterotic wings, 10. Parasphenoid and orbitosphenoid, 11. Abductor arcus palatine scars, 12. Anterior ceratohyal-ventral hypohyal joint, 13. Dorsal hypohyal, 14. Upper hypurals, 15. Transcapular ligament ossification. It would be highly valuable to compare these anatomical synapomorphies with those from molecular markers. This group of four is the sister group to all other ictalurids in the analysis and they presumably share a last common ancestor which lived in the northern Mexico area.

Conservation Status

MuG [VU D2:3.1:2009]

VU D2:3.1:2009. (Snoeks, J., Laleye, P. & Contreras-MacBeath, T. 2009. Prietella lundbergi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: Downloaded on 07 July 2017). Assessed as Vulnerable due to it inhabiting only two locations. P. lundbergi's very restricted distribution makes it extremely vulnerable to threats, such as water pollution, which would rapidly affect all the individuals in the population. However, it is mainly threatened by large-scale water extraction.

E (Contreras-Balderas, Almada-Villela, Lozano-Vilano and Garcia-Ramirez 2003). Since it may have a very limited range, and lives in a habitat that may be seriously affected by human disturbance (pollution, potential water abstraction etc), this species may be classed as endangered by the Mexican Government (H. E. Perez in Walsh and Gilbert 1995).

Museum Holdings

As above only.

Internet Resources

Genbank sequences

Genbank accession no. Gene Voucher Source
AY458865.1 mt cytb none Wilcox et al. 2004
AY458864.1 mt cytb

TNHC 25767-68

Wilcox et al. 2004
AY458867.1 mt 12s, 16s ribosomal none Wilcox et al. 2004
AY458866.1 mt 12s, 16s ribosomal

TNHC 25767-68

Wilcox et al. 2004


Prietella phreatophila mitochondrion, complete genome

Trogloglanis pattersoni mitochondrion, complete genome

Key References

Hubbs, C.L. and Bailey, R.M. Journal Article 1947 Blind catfishes from artesian waters of Texas
Taylor, W. R. Thesis 1955 A revision of the genus Noturus Rafinesque with a contribution to the classification of the North American catfishes
Suttkus, R. D. Journal Article 1961 Additional information about blind catfishes from Texas
Lundberg, J.G. Thesis 1970 The evolutionary history of north American catfishes, family Ictaluridae
Hubbs, C. Book Section 1971 Fishes of Texas caves
Longley, G. Journal Article 1977 Preliminary report of biological investigations: Valdina Farms sinkhole, Medina County, Texas
Karnei, H. Thesis 1978 Survey of the subterranean fauna, Bexar County, Texas
Longley, G. Journal Article 1979 Subterranean aquatic fauna of the Edwards aquifer in Texas, as indicated by samples from wells and springs
Longley, G. and Karnei, H. Journal Article 1979 Status of Trogloglanis pattersoni Eigenmann, the toothless blindcat
Longley, G. and Karnei, H. Journal Article 1979 Status of Satan eurystomus Hubbs and Bailey, the widemouth blindcat
Karnei, H. Journal Article 1979 Status of the troglobitic blind catfishes, Trogloglanis pattersoni and Satan eurystomus, in Bexar County, Texas
Cooper, J.E. and Longley, G. Book Section 1980 Trogloglanis pattersoni Eigenmann Toothless blindcat
Cooper, J.E. and Longley, G. Book Section 1980 Satan eurystmus Hubbs and Bailey Widemouth blindcat
Longley, G. Journal Article 1981 The Edwards aquifer: Earths most diverse groundwater ecosystem ?
Lundberg, J.G. Journal Article 1982 The comparative anatomy of the toothless blindcat, Trogloglanis pattersoni Eigenmann, with a phylogenetic analysis of the ictalurid fishes
Edwards, R.J., Beaty, H.E., Longley, G., Riskind, D.H., Tupa, D.D. and Whiteside, B.G. Book 1984 The San Marcos recovery plan
Longley, G. Book Section 1986 The biota of the Edwards Aquifer and the implications for zoogeography
Moravec, F. and Huffman, D.G. Journal Article 1988 Rhabdochona longleyi sp. n. (Nematoda, Rhabdochonidae) from the blind catfishes, Trogloglanis pattersoni and Satan eurystomus (Ictaluridae) from the subterranean waters of Texas
Edwards, R.J., Longley, G., Moss, R., Ward, G., Matthews, R. and Stewart, B. Journal Article 1989 A classification of Texas aquatic communities with special consideration toward the conservation of enangered and threatened taxa
Langecker, T.G. and Longley, G. Book Section 1992 Blind catfish (Trogloglanis pattersoni and Satan eurystomus) from deep artesian waters. A study on convergent adaptations to cave and deep sea biota
Langecker, T.G. and Longley, G. Journal Article 1992 Blind catfish (Trogloglanis pattersoni and Satan eurystomus) from deep artesian waters: A study on convergant adaptation to cave and deep sea biotas
Langecker, T.G. and Longley, G. Journal Article 1993 Morphological adaptations of the Texas blind catfishes Trogloglanis pattersoni and Satan eurystomus (iluriformes, Ictaluridae) to their underground environment
Hendrickson, D.A. Journal Article 1995 Miscellaneous notes on biogeography and biology of Mexican blind catfish of the genus Prietella
Walsh, S.J. and Gilbert, C.R. Journal Article 1995 New species of troglobitic catfish of the genus Prietella (Siluriformes, Ictaluridae) from Northeastern Mexico
Hendrickson, D.A. Journal Article 1996 Notes on biogeography, ecology and behaviour of Mexican blind catfish, genus Prietella (Ictaulridae)
Hendrickson, D.A. and Krejca, J. Journal Article 1997 Notes on biogeography, ecology and behaviour of Mexcan blind catfish, genus Prietella (Ictaluridae)
Longley, G. and Jordan, W.R. Journal Article 1997 Management of the Edwards Aquifer region - How the Endangered Species Act influenced action
Hendrickson, D.A. and Krecja, J. Journal Article 1998 Blindcats of the genus Prietella (Ictualuridae) of northeastern Mexico: an overview of recent explorations and studies
Garcia de Leon, F.J., Hendrickson, D.A. and Hillis, D.M. Journal Article 1998 Molecular phylogeny of Ictaluridae with emphasis on the Mexican blindcats, genus Prietella
Hendrickson, D.A., Krejca, J. and Rodriguez Martinez, J.M. Journal Article 1998 Blind catfish (Prietella: Ictaluridae) phylogenies and troglobitic invertebrates as indicators of international (Mexico-USA) subterranean aquatic interconnections, and as tools for environmental risk assessment
Villalobos, J.L., Alvarez, F. and Iliffe, T.M. Journal Article 1999 New species of troglobitic shrimps from Mexico, with the description of Troglomexicanus, new genus (Decapoda: Palaemonidae)
Hendrickson, D.A. and Krejca, J. Book Section 2000 Subterranean freshwater diversity in northeastern Mexico and Texas
Hendrickson, D.A., Krejca, J. and Rodriguez Martinez, J.M. Journal Article 2001 Mexican blindcats genus Prietella (Siluriformes: Ictaluridae): An overview of recent explorations
Krejca, J. Journal Article 2003 The Mexican blindcat (Prietella phreatophila): Research and exploration in the groundwater
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
Wilcox, T.P., Garcia de Leon, F.J., Hendrickson, D.A. and Hillis, D.M. Journal Article 2004 Convergence among cave catfishes: long-branch attraction and a Bayesian relative rates test
Boghici, R. Report 2004 Hydrogeology of Edwards and Trinity Aquifer of Texas and Coahuila in the Border Region
Sullivan, J.P., Lundberg, J.G. and Hardman, M. Journal Article 2006 A phylogenetic analysis of the major groups of catfishes (Teleostei: Siluriformes) using rag1 and rag2 nuclear gene sequences
Engel, A.S. Journal Article 2007 Observations on the biodiversity of sulfidic karst habitats
Taylor, S.J., Weckstein, J.D., Takiya, D.M., Krejca, J.K., Murdoch, J.D., Veni, G., Johnson, K.P. and Reddell, J.R. Report 2007 Phylogeography of cave crickets (Ceuthophilus spp.) in central Texas: A keystone taxon for the conservation and management of federally listed endangered cave arthropods
Contreras-Balderas, S and others, 13 Journal Article 2008 Freshwater fishes and water status in México: A country-wide appraisal
Valdez-Moreno, M., Ivanova, N.V., Elias-Gutierrez, M., Contreras-Balderas, S. and Herbert, P.D.N. Journal Article 2009 Probing diversity in freshwater fishes from Mexico and Guatemala with DNA barcodes
Egge, J.J.D. Book Section 2010 Systematics if ictalurid catfishes: a review of the evidence
Zara Environmental LLC Report 2010 Final Report for deep aquifer biota study of the Edwards Aquifer
Dahdul, W.M., Lundberg, J.G., Midford, P.E., Balhoff, J.P., Lapp, H., Vision, T.J., Haendel, M.A., Westerfield, M. and Mabee, P.M. Journal Article 2010 The Teleost anatomy ontology: Anatomocal representation for the genomics age
Gary, M.O., Gary, R.H. and Hunt, B.B. Journal Article 2011 Interconnection of the Trinity (Glen Rose) and Edwards Aquifers along the Balcones Fault Zone and related topics
Zara Environmental LLC Report 2014 Fauna of wells near the saline waterline of the Edwards Aquifer, Texas
Bishop, R., Humphreys, W.F. and Longley, G. Journal Article 2014 Epigean and hypogean palaemonetes sp. (Decapoda, Palaemonidae) from Edwards Aquifer: an examination of trophic structure and metabolism.
Palacios-Vargas, J.G., Juberthie, C. and Reddell, J. Book 2014-2015 Encyclopaedia Biospeologica Mexico
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Hendrickson, D.A., Johnson, J., Sprouse, P.S., Howard, S., Garrett, G.P. Krejca, J.K., Gluesenkamp, W., Paulín, J.A.D., Dugan, L., Cohen, A.E., Espriú, A.H., Sullivan, J.P., Fenol, D.B., Karges, J., Smith, R., García De León, F.J., Wolaver, B. and Reddell Conference Paper 2016 Discovery of the Mexican Blindcat, Prietella phreatophila in the U.S and an update on its rangewide conservation status
Coleman, W.T., Hutchins, B.T. and Schwartz, B.F. Conference Paper 2016 Dynamics of detectability: Insights from high-frequency sampling at a stygobiont hot-spot, Edwards Aquifer, Texas
Hutchins, B., Engel, A., Nowlin, W., and Schwartz, B. Journal Article 2016 Chemolithoautotrophy supports macroinvertebrate food webs and affects diversity and stability in groundwater communities
Hutchins, B.T., Engel, A.S., Nowlin, W.H. and Schwartz, B.F. Conference Paper 2016 Biodiversity, stability, and trophic complexity in the Edwards Aquifer, United States: The influence of chemolithoautotrophy on stygobiont community structure
Hutchins, B.T. Conference Paper 2016 Conservation status of stygobionts in Texas, United States.
Sinatra, C.S. Web Page 2016 Rare, blind catfish never before found in U.S. discovered in Texas
Hendrickson, D.A., Hernández‐ Espriú, A., Dugan, L., Sprouse, P., Dávila Paulín, J.A., Krejca, J., Gluesenkamp, A., Reddell, J., Smith, R., Howard, S., Johnson, J., Garrett, G.P., Cohen, A.E., García De León, F.J., Wolaver, B.P. and Fenolio, D.B. Conference Paper 2017 Discovery of endangered Mexican Blindcat, Prietella phreatophila , in Texas: Implications for international groundwater management and evolution of the regional karst aquifer biota
Arce, M., Lundberg, J.G. and O'Leary, M.A. Journal Article 2017 Phylogeny of the North American catfish Family Ictaluridae (Teleostei: Siluriformes) combining morphology, genes and fossils
Lundberg, J.G., Hendrickson, D.A., Luckenbill, K.R. and Arce, M. Journal Article 2017 Satan's skeleton revealed: a tomographic and comparative osteology of Satan eurystomus, the subterranean Widemouth Blindcat (Siluriformes, Ictaluridae)
Nissen, B.D., Devitt, T.J., Bendik, N.F., Gluesenkamp, A.G., Gibson, R. Journal Article 2018 New occurrence records for stygobiontic invertebrates from the Edwards and Trinity aquifers in west-central Texas, USA
Hutchins, B.T. Journal Article 2018 The conservation status of Texas groundwater invertebrates
Gluesenkamp, A. Hendrickson, D.A. and Sprouse, P.S. Journal Article 2018 The Mexican Blindcat Project: new discoveries and future efforts
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Arroyave, J., Schmitter-Soto, J. and Lyons, T.J. Web Page 2019 Typhlias pearsei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019 e.T39296A2896759
Lyons, K.M. Thesis 2019 Exploring the distribution of groundwater salamanders and catfish with environmental DNA
Lyons, T.J., Máiz-Tomé, L., Tognelli, M., Daniels, A., Meredith, C., Bullock, R. and Harrison, I., Contreras-MacBeath, T., Hendrickson, D.A., Arroyave, J., Mercado Silva, N., Köck, M., Domínguez Domínguez, O., Valdés González, A., Espinosa Pérez et al. Book 2020 The status and distribution of freshwater fishes in Mexico
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Gibson, R., Hutchins, B.T., Krejca, J.K., Diaz, P.H. and Sprouse. P.S. Journal Article 2021 Stygobromus bakeri, a new species of groundwater amphipod (Amphipoda, Crangonyctidae) associated with the Trinity and Edwards aquifers of central Texas, USA
Gibson, R., Hutchins, B.T., Krejca, J.K., Diaz, P.H. and Sprouse. P.S. Journal Article 2021 Corrigenda: Stygobromus bakeri, a new species of groundwater amphipod (Amphipoda, Crangonyctidae) associated with the Trinity and Edwards aquifers of central Texas, USA
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Niemiller, M.L., Carter, E.T., Fenolio, D.B., Gluesenkamp, A.G. and Phillips, J.G. Book Section 2022 Subterranean colonisation and diversification of cave-dwelling salamanders
Hendrickson, D.A., Lundberg, J., Luckenbill, K. and Arce-H, M. Conference Paper 2022 Update on taxonomic and conservation status of North American blindcats (Ictaluridae)
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Hendrickson, D.A. Web Page 2022 Blind cave catfishes
Pérez-Rodríguez, R., Domínguez-Domínguez, O., Pedraza-Lara, C., Rosas-Valdez, R., Pérez-Ponce de León, G., García-Andrade, A.B. and Doadrio, I. Journal Article 2023 Multi-locus phylogeny of the catfish genus Ictalurus Rafinesque, 1820 (Actinopterygii, Siluriformes) and its systematic and evolutionary implications
Janzen, F. Thesis 2023 Evolutionary biogeography of catfishes (Siluriformes, Actinopterygii): The influence of habitat and landscape on gene flow and genetic diversification
Janzen, F.H., Pérez-Rodríguez, R., Domínguez-Domínguez, O., Hendrickson, D.A., Sabaj, M.H. and Blouin-Demers, G. Journal Article 2023 Phylogenetic relationships of the North American catfishes (Ictaluridae, Siluriformes): investigating the origins and parallel evolution of the troglodytic species