Trichomycterus rosablanca

Mesa, Lasso, Ochoa and DoNascimiento 2018







Holotype: IAvH-P 16086 95.5 mm SL. Paratypes: IAvH-P 14050 1 CS 59.5 mm SL, IAvH-P 15806, 1 50.8 mm SL, IAvH-P 15808, 1 76.2 mm SL, IAvH-P 15810, 2 50.1mm SL,  IAvH-P 15811, 5 48.7-74.8 mm SL, IAvH-P 15809; 1 IAvH-P 15813, 16 41.2-77.7 mm SL, IAvH-P 15814, 5 45.6-65.5 mm SL,  IAvH-P 15815, 1 68.6 mm SL.

Zoobank registration


Type locality: Las Sardinas Cave, Las Sardinas Creek, tributary of Horta River, Carare River drainage, Magdalena River basin, El Peñón, Santander, Colombia (06°05’36.0”N 73°49’42.7”W). Altitude 2308m. Also known from: Caracol Cave, hypogean stream tributary of Horta River in the same area.


A neighbour-joining tree of COI sequence divergence (K2P) in 17 trichomycterid species showed that the sister species of T. rosablanca is Eremophilus mutisii (Florez et al. 2020)

Biological Notes

Florez et al. (2020, 2021) made a very thorough study of both epigean and hypogean Trichomycterus in the Province of Santander, Colombia. They were keen to understand whether the hypogean populations were derived from a single colonisation, evolution of troglomorphy and then dispersal to the known cave sites, or whether there had been multiple parallel colonisations followed by independent evolution of troglomorphy. Their data were quite clear that it was the second of these possibilities that had occurred and that some cave populations are very closely related to epigean ones.

Figure 2 of Florez et al. (2020) and Figure 3 of Florez et al. (2021) shows the relationships of all sampled Trichomycterus, and some other, taxa. The best supported clades are numbered 1-3 and hypogean Trichomycterus are found only in clades 1 and 2. Unnumbered clades received lower support and are not relevant here as they contain no troglomorphic taxa. Clade 1 consists of only the troglomorphic T. rosablanca and the widespread epigean species Eremophilus mutisii. Clade 2 is bigger and considerably more complex with 27 terminal taxa in four groups. Group 1 is monophyletic and consists of only the troglomorphic Trichomycterus undescribed species Guapota (3 terminals). Group 2 consists of two taxa, the non-troglomorphic Trichomycterus undescribed species Guadalupe (5 terminals) and the non-troglomorphic T. latistriatus (1 terminal). Group 3 is monophyletic and complex with 18 terminals. Three taxa are found in this group: T. sandavali (4 terminals), Trichomycterus undescribed species Zapatoca (7 terminals) and the hypogean, though apparently not troglomorphic T. uisae (7 terminals). Group 4 is monophyletic and consist of only the non-troglomorphic Trichomycterus undescribed species Curiti (3 terminals). From this set of data we can see that there are at least an additional two troglomorphic species in the genus that are not yet described, Guapota and Zapatoca. This takes the number of troglobitic species in the country to 12 with 5 currently undescribed. However, the lack of genetic structure in Group 3 strongly suggests that all terminals are very closely related and could be considered as the same species. If this were to be accepted then the formal name would be Trichomycterus sandovali Ardila Rodriguez 2006 and Zapoatoca need not be described.

Conservation Status

[VU D1:3.1:2021]

Lasso, C. 2021. Trichomycterus rosablanca. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T181733869A181733936. Accessed on 14 February 2022.

Museum Holdings

As above only.

Internet Resources

Sequences. Genseq-2 COI: sequence of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome C oxidase subunit I of one paratype (IAvH-P 15811) of Trichomycterus rosablanca (genseq-2 COI following the nomenclature of Chakrabarty et al. 2013) is available through the following BOLD accession code: CBIHS009-17.

Key References

Mendoza, J.E., Murillo, J.M.M. and Orjuela, G.R. Journal Article 2009 Sistema Cárstico de la Formación Rosablanca Cretácico inferior, en la provincia santandereana de Vélez, Colombia
Mesa S., L.M., Lasso, C.A., Ochoa, L.E. and DoNascimiento, C. Journal Article 2018 Trichomycterus rosablanca (Siluriformes, Trichomycteridae) a new species of hypogean catfish from the Colombian Andes
Flórez, J.S., Cadena, C.D., DoNascimiento, C. and Torres, M. Journal Article 2020 Repeated colonization of caves leads to phenotypic convergence in catfishes (Siluriformes: Trichomycterus) at a small geographical scale
Flórez, J.S., Cadena, C.D., Donascimiento, C. and Torres, M. Journal Article 2021 Repeated colonization of caves leads to phenotypic convergence in catfishes (Siluriformes: Trichomycterus) at a small geographical scale
Lasso, C. Web Page 2021 Trichomycterus rosablanca
Irwin, A. Journal Article 2023 The race to understand Colombia's exceptional biodiversity