Phreatobius dracunculus

Shibatta, Muriel-Cunha and De Pinna 2007







Holotype: MZUSP 93955. Paratypes: MZUEL 4761; MZUSP 91680, MZUSP 93956, MZUSP 93957, MZUSP 93958.


Known only from the type locality: Hand-dug well in settlement of Rio Prado, about 90 kilometers south of City of Porto Velho, area of Rio Branco drainage, Rondônia State, Brazil. 9°34'10.7"S, 63°58'08.2"W.


See discussion under P. cisternarum.

Biological Notes

Perez et al. (2020) found the following: "Histological analysis showed that the vestigial eyes of Phreatobius cisternarum contain a rudimentary lens. Transcriptome analysis revealed a repertoire of eleven visual and non-visual opsins and the expression of 36 genes involved in lens development and maintenance. In contrast to other cavefish species, such as Astyanax mexicanus, Phreatichthys andruzzii, Sinocyclocheilus anophthalmus and Sinocyclocheilus microphthalmus, neuromast staining patterns did not show an increase in the number of sensory hair cells" (from their Abstract). Further important results on this very significant subterranean fish, which has hardly been studied, are expected from this research group.

Conservation Status


Museum Holdings

As above only.

Internet Resources

Genbank sequences for Phreatobius dracunculus:

Phreatobius dracunculus voucher MZUSP:93956 recombination activating protein 2 (rag2) gene, partial cds

Phreatobius dracunculus voucher MZUSP:93956 16S ribosomal RNA gene, partial sequence; mitochondrial

Phreatobius dracunculus voucher MZUSP 93956 recombination activating protein 1 (rag1) gene, exons 1, 2 and partial cds

Key References

Fuhrmann, O. Journal Article 1905 Scleropages formosum und uber Phreatobius cisternarum
Fuhrmann, O. Journal Article 1905 Scleropages formosum und uber Phreatobius cisterarum
Reichel, M. Journal Article 1927 Etude anatomique du Phreatobius cisternarum Goeldi, Silure aveugle du Bresil
DeCarvalho, A.L. Book Section 1967 Novas dados para o conhecimento de Phreatobius cisternarum Goeldi (Pisces, Pygidiidae, Phreatobiinae)
de Pinna, M.C.C. Book Section 1998 Phylogenetic relationships of Neotropical Siluriformes (Teleostei: Ostariophysi): Historical overview and synthesis of hypotheses
Muriel-Cunha, J. and de Pinna, M.C.C. Journal Article 2005 New data on cistern catfish, Phreatobius cisternarum, from subterranean waters at the mouth of the Amazon River (Siluriformes, Incertae Sedis)
Fernandez, L., Saucedo, L.J., Carvajal-Vallejos, F.M. and Schaefer, S.A. Journal Article 2007 A new catfish of the genus Phreatobius Goeldi 1905 from groundwaters of the Itenez River, Bolivia (Siluriformes: Heptapteridae)
Shibatta, O.A., Muriel-Cunha, J. and de Pinna, M.C.C. Journal Article 2007 A new subterranean species of Phreatobius Goeldi, 1905 (Siluriformes, incertae sedis) from the southwestern Amazon basin
Muriel-Cunha, J., Pinna, M. de and Zuanon, J. Journal Article 2008 The first vertebrate from the hyporheic: a new species of Phreatobius Goeldi, 1905 (Siluriformes, incertae Sedis) from northern Amazon, Brazil
Muriel-Cunha, J. and de Pinna, M.C.C. Journal Article 2008 Using DNA to resolve the phylogenetic placement of a morphologically aberrant taxon, the stygal catfish Phreatobius (Goeldi, 1905) (Ostariophysi: Siluriformes)
Muriel-Cunha, J. Thesis 2008 Biodiversidade e sistematica molecular de Phreatobiidae (stariophysi: Siluriformes) - com una proposta sobre sua posicao filogenetica em Siluriformes e uma discussao sobre a evolucao do habito subterraneo
Trajano, E. and Bichuette, M.E. Book Section 2010 Subterranean fishes of Brazil
Ohara, W.M., Da Costa, I.D. and Fonseca, M.L. Journal Article 2016 Behavioiur, feeding habits and ecology of the blind catfish Phreatobius sanguijuela (Ostariophysi: Siluriformes)
Fernandez, L., Bize, J.A. and Lopez, H.L. Journal Article 2017 Peces subterráneos de Sudamérica
Mariluz, B.R. Thesis 2019 A base molecular das adaptações visuais nos genes das opsinas de anableps Anableps e Phreatobius cisternarum através da análise de transcriptoma
Liu, A. Schneider, P. and Taylor,J. Conference Paper 2019 Opsins in the dark. Characterising light sensitive genes in the Brazilian eyeless cavefish Phreatobius cisternarum
Perez, L.N., Mariluz, B.R., Lorena, J., Liu, A., Sousa, M.P., Martins, R.A.P., Taylor, J.S. and Schneider, P.N. Journal Article 2021 The subterranean catfish Phreatobius cisternarum provides insights into visual adaptations to the phreatic environment