Lucifuga dentata

Poey 1858

Lucifuga dentata
Redrawn by Rhian Kendall from Nalbant (1981)


Lucifuga dentatus  Poey 1858

Stygicola dentatus  Gill 1863




Described from a syntype series of three individuals: MCZ 12415 (1 specimen), MCZ 32329 (1 specimen), ZMB 5961 (1 specimen) (Eschmeyer, Fricke and van der Lann 2017). This species is the type species by monotypy of the genus Stygicola.


Type locality: Cueva de Cajio, potrero de Torres, dos leguas, (c. 8.5 km), Sur de Guira de Melena, Habana province, Cuba. Other sites from which this species has been collected are given by Garcia Debras, Gonzalez and Yager (1999) (22o-23oN,80o-84oW). This species has been found in locations from the extreme east and west sides of Cuba.


Inhabits anchialine caves.


Diaz Perez, Misas and Virsida (1987) created the subspecies Lucifuga dentatus holguinensis (which they call a variety) for a female from Aguada de Macigo, Gibara, Holguin province. It had most of the important characters of the species but lacked palatine teeth. In the subfamily Brosmophycinae.

Conservation Status

MuG [NE]

Alfredo Garcia Debras (pers. comm.) reports that some historical locations for this species have been partially or totally destroyed, some are affected by pollution from industrial and /or domestic sources and others by various engineering works. He also states that some marine fish species have been introduced into the habitat of Lucifuga species, where they not only compete for resources (mainly food), but also actively prey on the cave fishes.

Museum Holdings

Only the above known about but there must be others in Museums in Cuba and the United States.

Key References

Lane, H. H. Journal Article 1903 The ovarian structure of the viviparous blind fishes Lucifuga and Stygicola
Lane, H. H. Journal Article 1908 On the ovary and ova of the Cuban cavefishes
Eigenmann, C. H. Journal Article 1909 Cave vertebrates of America, a study in degenerative evolution
Kosswig, C. Journal Article 1934 Uber bislang unbekannte Sinnesorgane dei dem blinden Hohlenfisch Stygicola dentatus (Poey)
Nunez Jimenez, A. Journal Article 1944 Los peces ciegos en Cuba
Juberthie, C. Journal Article 1971 Notes sur l'ecologie des poissons souterraines de Cuba
Taboada, G.S. Book 1974 Sinopsis de la espeleofauna Cubana. Serie espeleologica y carsologica No. 43
Vina, N., Davila, Zaida and Grana, A. Journal Article 1975 Contribucion al conocimiento de los peces cavernicolas de Cuba
Thines, G. and Piquemal, M. Journal Article 1978 Observations sur les comportements de Lucifuga subterranea Poey (Pisces, Ophidiidae), poisson cavernicole de Cuba
Cohen, D. M. and Nielsen, J. G. Journal Article 1978 Guide to the identification of genera of the fish order Ophidiiformes with a tentative classification of the order
Durand, J. P. Journal Article 1978 Phenomenes de convergences tissulaires et cytologiques, lies aux processus degeneratifs qui affectent l'oeil chez deux teleoteens cavericoles Asytyanax (Anoptichthys) mexicanus (Characidae) et Lucifuga (Stygicola) dentatus (Ophidiidae)
Vergara, R. Journal Article 1980 Principales caracteristicas de la ictiofauna dulceacuicola cubana
Vergara, R. Journal Article 1980 Estudio fenetico de los peces ciegos del genero Lucifuga
Vergara, R. Journal Article 1980 Estudio filogenetico del los peces ciegos del genero Lucifuga (Pisces, Ophidiidae). I Sistematica filogenetica
Nunez Jimenez, A. Journal Article 1980 40 anos explorando a Cuba
Varela, E., Barros, O. and Jimenez, S. Book Section 1980 The effects of sugar-waste disposal on a karstic limestone aquifer
Vergara, R. Journal Article 1981 Estudio filogenetico del los peces ciegos del genero Lucifuga (Pisces, Ophidiidae). II Bibliografia filogenetica
Vergara, R. Journal Article 1981 Estudio filogenetico del los peces ciegos del genero Lucifuga (Pisces, Ophidiidae). III Aspectos evolutivos
Nalbant, T. T. Journal Article 1981 A study of the subterranean species of Lucifuga from Cuba, with the description of Lucifuga simile sp. n. (Pisces, Ophidiiformes, Bythitidae)
Burgess, G.H. Book Section 1983 Lucifuga
Diaz Perez, P. A., Misas, E. and Virsida, G. Journal Article 1987 Peces ciegos fel genero Lucifuga (Ophidiiformes, Bythitidae) en dos casimbas cubanas
Burgess, G. H. and Franz, R. Book Section 1987 Zoogeography of the Antillean freshwater fish fauna
Wilkens, H., Strecker, U. and Yager, J. Journal Article 1989 Eye reduction and phylogenetic age of ophidiiform cave fishes
Yager, J., Spokane, R. B., Bozanic, J. E., Williams, D. W. and Balado, E. Journal Article 1994 An ecological comparison of two anchialine caves in Cuba with emphasis on water chemistry
Coy, A., Garcia, N. and Ventosa, L. Journal Article 1997 Helmintos de peces cubanos del genero Lucifuga Poey, 1858 (Ophidiiformes: Bythitidae)
Durand, J.P. Journal Article 1998 Degenerescence spontanee des yeax du poisson cavernicole Lucifuga subterraneus Poey, 1861 (Teleostei, Ophidioidei)
Garcia Debras, A. and Gonzalez, A.P. Journal Article 1999 Estudio sobre la dieta de peces Cubanos (Ophidiiformes: Bythitidae)
Garcia-Debras, A., Gonzalez, A.P. and Yager, J. Journal Article 1999 Distribucion geografica de los peces ciegos (Ophidiiformes: Bitytidae) Cubanos
Garcia, N., Coy, A. and Ventosa, L. Journal Article 1999 Nematodos asociados a la espeleofauna Cubana
Nielsen, J. G., Cohen, D. M., Markle, D.F. and Robins, C. R. Journal Article 1999 Ophidiiform fishes of the world (Order Ophidiiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of pearlfishes, cusk-eels, brotulas and other ophidiiform fishes known to date
Garcia-Machado, E, Hernandez, D, Moller, PR, Bernatchez, L and Casane, D Journal Article 2011 Phylogenetic relationships among Cuban and Bahamian species of the blind cave-fishes genus Lucifuga: A shared lineage among two isoloated archipelagoes
Moller, PR, Knudsen, SW, Schwarzhans, W and Nielsen, JG Journal Article 2016 A new classification of viviparous brotulas (Bythitidae) – with family status for Dinematichthyidae – based on molecular, morphological and fossil data