Schistura deansmarti

Vidthayanon and Kottelat 2003

CypriniformesCobitoidei Nemacheilidae






Holotype: NIFI 3152 81.0mm SL. Paratypes: NIFI 3154 (6 specimens, 28.5-65.2mm SL), CMK 17295 (2 specimens, 65.7mm SL-75.2mm SL).


Known only from the type locality: Tham Phra Sai Ngam Cave, Salaeng Luang National Park, Noen Maprang District, Phitsanulok Province, Thailand (16o37’23”N, 100o39’47”E).


The water in the cave is often stagnant or slowly flowing. Although other fish species are found in the cave they are in a different stream to that where S. deansmarti is found. They do however pose a predatory threat to the cave fish.


Vidthayanon and Kottelat (2003) suggest that S. spiesi and S. deansmarti are sister species, sharing a common epigean ancestor. They are similar in morphology and found in caves which are close together. S. desmotes, a species found in adjacent river basins, is a possible close relative.

Conservation Status

TLO [VU D2:3.1:2011]

(Vidthayanon, C. 2011. Schistura deansmarti. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: Downloaded on 14 July 2017). The species is only known only from subterranean streams in caves in Thung Salaeng Luang National Park, Pitsanulok Province, Thailand. Given the nature of the hydrological system and the likely limited Extent of Occurrence (less than 50 km2), the species is assessed as Vulnerable (D2). Current and potential threats are tourism development and degradation of the surrounding watershed and water quality, and combined with a very restricted Extent of Occurrence, the species could easily qualify  for a higher threatened category if further information becomes available on the scope and nature of threats. An irrigation dam has been proposed for the watershed, but this is currently suspended; the species would be greatly impacted by the dam and it should be reassessed if the dam is constructed. Smart (in Vidthayanon and Kottelat, 2003) suggests that the population may be the source of food for local people. A careful watch on the population trends should be made.

Museum Holdings

As above plus NIFI 3144, NIFI 3064, CMK 16877

Key References

Deharveng, L. and Bedos, A. Book Section 2001 Thailande
Vidthayanon, C. and Kottelat, M. Journal Article 2003 Three new species of fishes from Tham Phra Wang Daeng and Tham Phra Sai Ngam caves in northern Thailand (Teleostei: Cyprinidae and Balitoridae)
Brancelj, A., Boonyanusith, C., Watiroyram, S. and Sanoamuang, L. Journal Article 2013 The groundwater-dwelling fauna of Southeast Asia
Ellis, M. Journal Article 2018 The recorded fauna of the limestone caves of Thailand to April 2018
Ellis, M. Journal Article 2020 The caves of western and central Thailand
Marak, W.K. and Singh, Y.L. Journal Article 2023 Osteology of incomplete lateral lined schisturid loaches of Meghalaya: a comparative account