Typhlichthys undescribed species lineage B

[Niemiller et. al. 2013]



Typhlichthys subterraneus  Girard 1859 (in part)




This taxon has not been described and there are no types. The taxon was identified as separate from Typhlichthys subterraneus sensu lato by Niemiller et al. (2013).


Recorded from 27 caves in Tennessee (8 confirmed with molecular data) (Niemiller et al. (2013).


There are nine known and named taxa in the Family Amblyopsidae. Of these six are subterranean fishes with the usual troglomorphic characters of reduced eyes and pigment and permanent subterranean existence, and three are epigean fishes with normal eyes and pigment. Recent molecular and morphological evidence produced by Hart et al. (2020) demonstrates that the relationship between these hypogean and epigean fishes is not simple. There are four major clades within the Family:

1. Typhlichthys subterraneus and Typhlichthys eigenmanni are sister species and sister to this pair is Speoplatyrhinus poulsoni.  However, T. subterraneus is quite clearly divided into two subgroups, one of which is closer to T. eigenmanni than it is to the other group of T. subterraneus. The only way to read the cladogram for this group is that it consists of three taxa, one of which is currently un-named. This clade are all subterranean fishes.

2. Two of the epigean fishes, Forbesichthys papilliferus and Forbesichthys agassizii, are sister to each other and their sister is the hypogean species Amblyopsis spelaea.

The two remaining clades contain one species each but their relationships to the other six species is ambiguous:

3a. Sister to the above groups is epigean Chologaster cornuta with hypogean Troglichthys rosae sister to all other taxa.

3b. Sister to the above groups is hypogean Troglichthys rosae with epigean Chologaster cornuta sister to all other taxa.

Given the fact that the distribution of Chologaster cornuta is very far from the distributions of the other taxa 3b seems the most parsimonious explanation. Amblyopsis hoosieri is not included in the paper of Hart et al. (in press) but one would expect it to be in group 2 above based on geography.

This analysis does not take into account the ten possible cryptic taxa, currently subsumed within Typhlichthys subterraneus, identified by Graening, Fenolio and Slay (2011), Niemiller et al. (2013) and Hart, Burress and Armbruster (2016).

Conservation Status

MuG [NE] VU B1ab(iii):3.1:2013 (Niemiller et al. 2013)

Museum Holdings

AUM, CMN, FMNH, UAIC, UF, UL, USNM (Niemiller et al. 2013)

Key References

Romero, A. and Conner, M. Journal Article 2007 Status report for the southern cavefish, Typhlichthys subterraneus in Arkansas
Niemiller, ML and Fitzpatrick, BM Journal Article 2008 Phylogenetics of the Southern cavefish, Typhlichthys subterraneus: Implications for conservation and management
Graening, G.O., Niemiller, M.L., Fenolio, D.B., Mandrekar, K., Trauth, S.E. and Romero, A. Journal Article 2010 A new cavefish, Typhlichthys sp. nov. (Perscopsiformes: Amblyopsidae) from the Interior Highlands, USA
Niemiller, M.L. and Poulson, T.L. Book Section 2010 Subterranean fishes of North America: Amblyopsidae
Niemiller, M.L. Thesis 2011 Evolution, speciation, and conservation of amblyopsid cavefishes
Niemiller, M. L., Near, T. J. and Fitzpatrick, B. M. Journal Article 2011 Delimiting species using multilocus data: Diagnosing cryptic diversity in the Southern Cavefish, Typhlichthys Subterraneus (Teleostei: Amblyopsidae)
Niemiller, M.L., Graening, G.O., Fenolio, D.B., Godwin, J.C., Cooley, J.R., Pearson, W.D., Fitzpatrick, B.M. and Near, T.J. Journal Article 2013 Doomed before they are described? The need for conservation assessments of cryptic species complexes using an amblyopsid cavefish (Amblyopsidae: Typhlichthys) as a case study
Venarsky, M.P., Huntsman, B.M., Huryn, A.D., Benstead, J.P. and Kuhajda, B.R. Journal Article 2014 Quantitative food web analysis supports the energy‑limitation hypothesis in cave stream ecosystems
Armbruster, J., Niemiller, M.L. and Hart, P.B. Journal Article 2016 Morphological evolution of the cave-, spring-, and swampfishes of the Amblyopsidae
Niemiller, M.L., Zigler, K.S., Hart, P.B., Kuhajda, B.R., Armbruster, J., Ayala, B.N. and Engel, A.S. Journal Article 2016 First definitive record of a stygobiotic fish (Percopsiformes, Amblyopsidae, Typhlichthys) from the Appalachians karst region in the eastern United States
Niemiller, M.L., Taylor, S.J., Slay, M.E. and Hobbs, H.H. III Book Section 2019 Biodiversity in the United States and Canada
Mouser, J. Thesis 2019 Examining occurrence, life history, and ecology of cavefishes and cave crayfishes using both traditional and novel approaches
Hart, P.B., Niemiller, M.L., Burress, E.D., Armbruster, J.W., Ludt, W.B. and Chakrabarty, P. Journal Article 2020 Cave-adapted evolution in the North American Amblyopsid fishes Inferred using phylogenomics and geometric morphometrics
Adams, G.L., Burr, B.M. and Warren, M.L. Book Section 2020 Amblyopsidae: Cavefishes
Mouser, J.B., Brewer, S.K., Niemiller, M.L., Mollenhauer, R. and Van Den Bussche, R.A. Journal Article 2021 Refining sampling protocols for cavefishes and cave crayfishes to account for environmental variation
Mouser, J.B., Brewer, S.K., Niemiller, M.L., Mollenhauer, R. and Van Den Bussche, R.A. Journal Article 2022 Lithology and disturbance drive cavefish and cave crayfish occurrence in the Ozark Highlands ecoregion
Mouser, J. Journal Article 2022 Lithology and disturbance drive cavefish and cave crayfish occurrence in the Ozark Highlands ecoregion
Hart, P.B., Niemiller, M.L., Armbruster, J.W. and Chakrabarty, P. Journal Article 2023 Conservation implications for the world’s most widely distributed cavefish species complex based on population genomics (Typhlichthys, Percopsiformes)