Typhleotris mararybe

Sparks and Chakrabarty 2012







Holotype: AMNH 245601. Paratype: AMNH 245602.


Type locailty: Grotte de Vitane (Vitany), sinkhole near Itampolo, coastal plain below and to west of Mahafaly Plateau, 24°42′07.1″S, 043°57′51.3″E, southwestern Madagascar. Biofresh map

Also recorded from: Vences, Rasoloariniaina and Riemann (2018)


Location Lat/Long Area Coexists with
Anjamanohatsy Masay -24.5819, 43.9661 S  
Lalia -24.5808, 43.9969 S T. madagascariensis, T. pauliani
Tehafe -24.5879, 43.9646 S T. madagascariensis, T. pauliani
Vitany Sud -24.7018, 43.9641 S  


At Tehafe one specimen may have been a hybrid between T. mararybe and T. pauliani.


Vences, Rasoloariniaina and Reimann (2018) obtained tissue samples from 122 individuals of the three Typhleotris species (T. madagascariensis, T. pauliani and T. mararybe). These were analysed to get DNA sequences fron one mitochondrial gene (cox1) and two nuclear genes (kiaa1239 and rag-1). cox 1 sequences were obtained from 118 individuals from 11 localities, rag-1 from 19 individuals from 6 localities and kiaa1239 from 85 individuals from 12 localities. The cox1 marker showed a clear separation of the thee nominal taxa but with some suggestion of hybridization between T. pauliani and T. madagascariensis and between T. pauliani and T. mararybe. All individuals of T. mararybe belong to one clade but both of the other species are divided into two clearly separate clades. Three geographic groupings were revealed. The northern group consisted only of one clade of T. pauliani at Safora, conderably separate from the central and southern groups. All T. maraybe sampled were in the southern group together with one clade of T. madagascariensis and the central group consisted only of the second clade of T. magagascariensis. The second clade of T. pauliani is found in both central and southern groups.

Chakrabarty, Davis and Sparks (2012) demonstrated that the three Madagascar species of Typhleotris are the sister group to the two Australian species of Milyeringa. They placed all five known species in the family Milyeringidae Whitley 1945. This action was fully supported by a multiple molecular marker study by Page et al. (2018).

Kuang et al. (2018) used molecular markers to study the internal structure of the Suborder Gobioidei which contains within it eleven Families. They demonstrated that Milyeringidae is sister Family to a group of four  Families: Oxudercidae+Gobiidae+Butidae+ Eleotridae and is only disttantly related to four others: Odontobutidae, Rhyacichthyidae, Apogonidae and Kurtidae (samples from Thalasseleotridae and Trichonotidae were not availabe for analysis).

Conservation Status

MuG [CR B1ab(iii):3.1:2016]

(FishBase team RMCA and Sparks, J.S. 2016. Typhleotris mararybe. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: RLTS.T57499221A58341136.en. Downloaded on 06 July 2017). Typhleotris mararybe is an elusive, blind cave-dwelling species endemic to Madagascar. It is only known from five localities (Rasoloariniaina et al. 2016) in a system of hydrologically connected caves near the town of Itampolo, representing one location. The extent of occurrence (EOO) of this species is estimated at 50 km². Given its restricted distribution, single location, and the ongoing decline of habitat this species is classified as Critically Endangered.

This species is found in Ecoregion 87 (Madagascar southern basins) of Thieme et al. (2005). This is a xeric area which is regionally outstanding faunistically, with a conservation status of relatively stable and a priority class of 5 (Sparks 2005).

Museum Holdings

As above only.

Internet Resources

Original description available online

Zoobank details

The Guardian

Prosanta Chakrabarty film

Key References

Reinthal, P.N. and Stiassny, M.L.J. Journal Article 1990 The freshwater fishes of Madagascar: A study of an endangered fauna with recommendations for a conservation strategy
Juberthie, C. and Decu, V. Book Section 2001 Madagascar
Guyot, L. Thesis 2002 Reconnaissance hydrogéologique pour l’alimentation en eau d’une plaine littorale en milieu semi-aride: Sud-Ouest de Madagascar
Benstead, J.P., DeRham, P.H., Gattolliat, J.-L., Gibbon, F.M., Loiselle, P.V., Sartori, M., Sparks, J.S. and Stiassny, M.L.J. Journal Article 2003 Conserving Madagascar's freshwater biodiversity.
Sparks, J Book Section 2003 Eleotridae: Typhleotris, Toho
Sparks, J and Stiassny, MLJ Book Section 2003 Introduction to the freshwater fishes
Sparks, J. Book Section 2005 Ecoregion 68. Madagascar western basins
Sparks, J. Book Section 2005 Ecoregion 87. Madagascar southern basins
Thieme, M.L., Abell, R., Stiassny, M.L.J.,Skelton, P., Lehner, B., Teugels, G., Dinerstein, E., Kamdem-Toham, A., Burgess, B., and Olson, D. Book 2005 Freshwater ecoregions of Africa and Madagascar. A conservation assessment
Wilmé, L., Goodman, S.M. & Ganzhorn, J.U. Book 2006 Biogeographic evolution of Madagascar's microendemic biota
Bambini, L., Kofoky, A., Mbohoahy, T., Ralisata, M., Manjoazy, T., Hosken, D.J. and Jenkins, R.K. Journal Article 2010 Do bats need trees? Habitat use of two Malagasy hipposiderid bats Triaenops furculus and T. menamena in the dry southwest
Chakrabarty, P. Journal Article 2010 Status and phylogeny of Milyerigidae (Teleostei:Gobiiformes), with the description of a new blind cave-fish from Australia, Milyeringa brooksi, n. sp.
Sparks, J.S. and Chakrabarty, P. Journal Article 2012 Revision of the endemic Malagasy cavefish genus Typhleotris (Teleostei: Gobiiformes: Milyeringidae) with discussion of its phylogenetic placement and description of a new species
Chakrabarty, P., Davis, M.P. and Sparks, J.S. Journal Article 2012 The first record of a trans-oceanic sister-group relationship between obligate vertebrate troglobites
Chakrabarty, P. Web Page 2012 The death Goby and her kin
Samonds K.E., Godfrey L.R., Ali J.R., Goodman S.M., Vences M., Sutherland, M.R. Irwin, M.T. and Krause, D.W. Journal Article 2013 Imperfect isolation: Factors and filters shaping Madagascar’s extant vertebrate fauna
Dworak, L., Rasoloariniaina, J.R., Raminosoa, N. and Englert, A. Book Section 2015 Hydrogéologie dans le sud-ouest de Madagascar.
Rasoloariniaina, J.R., Ganzhorn, J.U., Riemann, J.C. and Raminosoa, N. Journal Article 2016 Water quality and biotic interaction of two cavefish species: Typhleotris madagascariensis Petit, 1933 and Typhleotris maraybe Sparks and Chakrabarty, 2012, in the Mahafaly Plateau groundwater syste, Madagascar
Laumanns, M. Journal Article 2017 Atlas of the great caves and the karst of Africa. Part 1. Introduction and Algeria to Madagascar
Kuang, T., Tornabene, L., Lia, J., Jiang, J., Chakrabarty, P., Sparks, J.S., Naylor, G.J.P. and Lia, C. Journal Article 2018 Phylogenomic analysis on the exceptionally diverse fish clade Gobioidei (Actinopterygii: Gobiiformes) and data-filtering based on molecular clocklikeness
Vences, M., Rasoloariniaina, J.R. and Riemann, J.C. Journal Article 2018 A preliminary assessment of genetic divergence and distribution of Malagasy cave fish in the genus Typhleotris (Teleostei: Milyeringidae)
Fricke, R.,Mahafina, J.J., Behivoke, F., Jaonalison, H. Leopold, M. and Ponton, D. Journal Article 2018 Annotated checklist of the fishes of Madagascar, southwestern Indian Ocean, with 158 new records
Gierl, C., Dohrmann, M., Keith, P., Humphreys, W.J., Esmaeili, H.R., Vukić, J., Radek, S. and ReichenbacherI, B. Journal Article 2022 An integrative phylogenetic approach for inferring relationships of fossil gobioids (Teleostei: Gobiiformes)
Sparks, J.S. and Chakrabarty, P. Book Section 2022 Milyeringidae: Typhleotris
Thacker, C.E., McCraney, W.T., Harrington, R.C., Near, T.J., Shelley, J.J., Adams, M., Hammer, M.P. and Unmack, P.J. Journal Article 2023 Diversification of the sleepers (Gobiiformes: Gobioidei: Eleotridae) and evolution of the root gobioid families