Phreatobius sanguijuela

Fernandez, Saucedo, Carvajal and Schaefer 2007





Bolivia, Brazil


Holotype: UMSS 1785 42.1mm SL. Paratypes: MNKP 5373 27.8mm SL and 32.3mm SL.


Type locality: Artificial well, Comunidad de Porvenir, 13°59'14.44"S, 61°32'27.05"W, Río Iténez basin, Dept. Santa Cruz, Bolivia, elevation 172 meters. Known also from eight wells near São Francisco do Guaporé, Rondônia State, Brazil (Ohara, Dacosta and Fonseca 2016).


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

MuG [CR B2ab(iii):3.1:2016]

(Sarmiento, J., Maldonado, M. & Carvajal, F. 2016. Phreatobius sanguijuela. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: Downloaded on 07 July 2017).

Museum Holdings

As above only.

Key References

Goeldi, E. Journal Article 1905 Nova zoologica aus der Amazonas-Region. Neue Wirbeltiere
Fuhrmann, O. Journal Article 1905 Scleropages formosum und uber Phreatobius cisternarum
Fuhrmann, O. Journal Article 1905 Scleropages formosum und uber Phreatobius cisterarum
Eigenmann, C. H. Journal Article 1918 The Pygidiidae, a family of South American catfishes
Eigenmann, C.H. Journal Article 1919 Trogloglanis pattersoni, a new blind fish from San Antonio, Texas
Reichel, M. Journal Article 1927 Etude anatomique du Phreatobius cisternarum Goeldi, Silure aveugle du Bresil
Myers, G. S. Journal Article 1944 Two extraordinary new blind nematognath fishes from the Rio Negro, representing a new subfamily of Pygidiidae, with a rearrangement of the genera of the family
Gosline, W. A. Journal Article 1945 Catalogo dos nematognathos de agua-doce da America do Sol e Central
Fowler, H.W. Journal Article 1954 Os peixes de agua doce do Brasil. Vol. 2
DeCarvalho, A.L. Book Section 1967 Novas dados para o conhecimento de Phreatobius cisternarum Goeldi (Pisces, Pygidiidae, Phreatobiinae)
Chardon, M. Journal Article 1968 Anatomie comparee de l'appareil de Weber et des structures connexes chez les Siluriformes
Buckup, P. A. Journal Article 1988 The genus Heptapterus (Teleostei, Pimelodidae) in southern Brazil and Uruguay, with the description of a new species
Henderson, P. A. Journal Article 1990 Fish of the Amazonian Igapo: stability and conservation in a high diversity-low biomass system
Lundberg, J.G., Bornbusch, A.H. and Mago-Leccia, F. Journal Article 1991 Gladioglanis conquistador n.sp. from Ecuador with diagnoses of the subfamilies Rhamdiinae Bleeker and Pseudopimelodinae n. subf. (Siluriformes: Pimelodidae)
de Pinna, M.C.C. Book Section 1998 Phylogenetic relationships of Neotropical Siluriformes (Teleostei: Ostariophysi): Historical overview and synthesis of hypotheses
Trajano, E. Book Section 2003 Ecology and ethology of subterranean catfishes
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)
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
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)
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
Sarmiento, J., Bigorne, R., Carvajal-Vallejos, F.M., Maldonado, M., Leciak, E. and Oberdorff, T. Book 2014 Peces de Bolivia Bolivian fishes
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)
Trajano, E., Gallao, J.E. and Bichuette, M.E. Journal Article 2016 Spots of high biodiversity of troglobites in Brazil: the challenge of measuring subterranean diversity
Fernandez, L., Bize, J.A. and Lopez, H.L. Journal Article 2017 Peces subterráneos de Sudamérica
Gallão, J.E. and Bichuette M.E. Journal Article 2018 Brazilian obligatory subterranean fauna and threats to the hypogean environment
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