Eidinemacheilus smithi

(Greenwood 1976) Segherloo, Ghaedrahmati and Freyhof 2016

Eidinemacheilus smithi
Illustration by Brian Coad (44.7mm SL, 55.2mm TL) and used with permission
CypriniformesCobitoidei Nemacheilidae


Noemacheilus smithi  Greenwood 1976

Nemacheilus smithi  Greenwood 1976

Paracobitis smithi  (Greenwood 1976) Nalbant and Bianco 1998




Holotype: BMNH 1976.6.28:1 apparently immature male 35.5mm SL. At the time of its description this was the only specimen and no other types were assigned.


Type locality: Loven Cave, a flood resurgence at Kaaje‑Ru, near the oasis of Baq‑e‑Loveh, Lorestan Province, Zagros Mountains, Iran (33o05'N, 48o36'E). This locality is 11 km from Tanh‑e‑kraft railway station on the line from Bendar Shapur to Tehran. This is also the type (and only known) locality of Garra typhlops and Garra lorestanensis and the three species coexist.

Known also from Tuveh Spring in the Dez River drainage 31km from the type locality (32o48'47'' N, 48o43'06'' E, altitude 495 m a.s.l.) (Vatandoust et al. 2019, Malek-Hosseini et al. 2022). Garra typhlops and Garra lorestanensis are also found in both Loren cave and in Tuveh Spring.



The true habitat of this species is not known. The collection site is the flood overflow for a large resurgence. The resurgence was explored by diving (Farr 1977, 1984:117) but the way on underwater became too narrow at 2m depth. The flood overflow was also dived but without conclusion. Another sump is located in the same area but was not examined (Farr 1977).


Greenwood (1976) placed this species into the “catchall” genus Noemacheilus as a temporary measure until its proper relationships could be ascertained. He also commented that it was close to the subgenus Paracobitis. It appears to be related to N. ghazniensis and N. rhadineus. Nalbant and Linares (1987) placed this species in the genus Paracobitis but without any reasons for this. A member of the subfamily Nemacheilinae.

Recent genetic studies, using mitochondrial COI, showed conclusively that the two populations of E. smithi, at Loven Cave and at Tuveh Spring, are each others closest relatives. Closest relative to these two is E. proudlovei in Iraq, which is of considerable interest given that the Iraq site and the two Iranian sites are 350km apart (Malek-Hosseini et al. 2022 Figure 1).

Conservation Status

MuG TLO [VU D2:2.3:1996]

World Conservation Monitoring Centre. 1996. Paracobitis smithi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 1996: Downloaded on 04 July 2017). R (IUCN 1990), R (IUCN 1993)

B. Sandford (in Coad 1980‑81:73) considers that this species (and its co-inhabitants Garra typhlops and Garra lorestanensis) should be considered endangered because of a collapse at the resurgence from which they were collected. However, as Coad points out (1980‑81:72‑73), these species may not be threatened since the pool in which they were collected probably represents only a small and atypical portion of their habitat. The cave or fissure system in which they have evolved and now live may be quite extensive. Coad (1996) records that reduced recharge of the system through human interaction in a water-poor area, and overcollection, may threaten this species. The Iranian authorities are aware of the rare nature of this animal and have imposed a fine on anyone collecting it illegally. Coad (1996) suggests that an important conservation measure might be the establishment of a small reserve with the assistance of local people.

Museum Holdings

As above plus: BMNH 1981.3.6:1‑3, NMC uncatalogued 5 specimens (B.W. Coad pers. comm.). VMFC PS1410 to VMFC PS1411 (Mousavi-Sabet and Eagderi 2016).

Internet Resources

Mitochondrial COI

Mitochondrial COI

Key References

Movaghar, S. Journal Article 1973 Iranocypris typhlops Kaiser the blind cave fish from Iran
Greenwood, P. H. Journal Article 1976 A new and eyeless cobitid fish (Pisces, Cypriniformes) from the Zagros Mountains, Iran
Anonymous Journal Article 1976 The blind white fishes of Persia
Smith, A. Journal Article 1977 Blind white fish discovery
Farr, M. J. Journal Article 1977 Karue Ru Resurgence, Zagros Mountains, Iran
Thines, G. Journal Article 1978 The blind fishes of Persia
Smith, A. Journal Article 1978 The blind fishes of Persia
Coad, B.W. Journal Article 1980-81 Environmental change and its impact on the freshwater fishes of Iran
Farr, M. J. Book 1984 The great caving adventure
Coad, B.W. Journal Article 1987 Zoogeography of the freshwater fishes of Iran
Nalbant, T. T. and Linares, O. Book Section 1987 A study of a subterranean population of Trichomycterus guianense (Eigenmann, 1909) from Venezuela (Pisces, Siluriformes, Trichomycteridae)
Coad, B.W. Journal Article 1996 Threatened fishes of the world: Iranocypris typhlops Bruun and Kaiser, 1944 (Cyprinidae)
Nalbant, T.T. and Bianco, P.G. Journal Article 1998 The loaches of Iran and adjacent regions with description of six new species (Cobitoidea)
Juberthie, C., Decu, V. and Povara, I. Book Section 2001 Iran
Smith, A. Journal Article 2004 [Corresponence re cave fishes in Iran and Iraq]
Coad, B.W., Mehrani, R. and Najafpour, N. Journal Article 2009 Threatened fishes of the world: Paracobitis smithi (Greenwood, 1976) (Balitoridae)
Freyhof, J., Esmaeili, H.R., Sayyadzadeh, G. and Geiger, M.F. Journal Article 2014 Review of the crested loaches of the genus Paracobitis from Iran and Iraq with the description of four new species (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae)
Jouladeh-Roudbar, A., Vatandoust, S., Eagderi, S., Jafari-Kenari, S. and Mousavi-Sabet, H. Journal Article 2015 Freshwater fishes of Iran: An updated checklist
Mousavi-Sabet, H., Vatandoust, S., Fatemi, Y. and Eagderi, S. Journal Article 2016 Tashan Cave a new cavefish locality for Iran; and Garra tashanensis, a new blind species from the Tigris River drainage (Teleostei: Cyprinidae)
Hashemzadeh Segherloo, I., Ghaedrahmati, N. and Freyhof, J. Journal Article 2016 Eidinemacheilus, a new generic name for Noemacheilus smithi Greenwood (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae)
Freyhof, J., Abdullah, Y.S., Ararat, K., Ibrahim, H. and Geiger, M.F. Journal Article 2016 Eidinemacheilus proudlovei, a new subterranean loach from Iraqi Kursdistan (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae)
Teimori, A., Mostafavi, H. and Esmaeli, H.R. Journal Article 2016 An update note on diversity and conservation of the endemic fishes in Iranian inland waters
Malek-Hosseini, M.J. and Zamani, A. Journal Article 2017 A checklist of subterranean arthropods of Iran
Esmaeili, H.R., Mehraban, H., Abbasi, K., Keivany, Y. and Coad, B. Journal Article 2017 Review and updated checklist of freshwater fishes of Iran: Taxonomy, distribution and conservation status
Vardanjani, H.K., Bahadorinia, S. and Ford, D.C. Book Section 2017 An introduction to hypogene karst regions and caves of Iran.
Hashemzadeh Segherloo, I., Abdoli, A., Eagderi, S., Esmaeili, H.R., Sayyadzadeh, G., Bernatchez, L., Hallerman, E., Geiger, M.F., Ozulug, M., Laroche, J. and Freyhof, J. Journal Article 2017 Dressing down: convergent reduction of the mental disc in Garra (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) in the Middle East
Khalaji-Pirbalouty, V., Fatemi, Y., Malek-Hosseini, M.J. and Kuntner, M. Journal Article 2018 A new species of Stenasellus Dollfus, 1897 from Iran, with a key to the western Asian species (Crustacea, Isopoda, Stenasellidae)
Esmaeili, H.R., Sayyadzadeh, G., Eagderi, S. and Abbasi, K. Journal Article 2018 Checklist of freshwater fishes of Iran
Barmaki, M.D., Rezaei, M., Raeisi, C.E. and Ashjari, J. Journal Article 2019 Comparison of surface and interior karst development in Zagros karst Aaquifers, southwest Iran.
Vatandoust, S., Mousavi‐Sabet, H., Geiger, M.F. and Freyhof, J. Journal Article 2019 A new record of Iranian subterranean fishes reveals the potential presence of a large freshwater aquifer in the Zagros Mountains
Fatemi, Y., Malek Hosseini, M.-J., Falniowski, A., Hofman, S., Kuntner, M. and Grego, J. Journal Article 2019 Description of a new genus and species as the first gastropod species from caves in Iran
Jouladeh-Roudbar, A., Ghanavi, H.R. and Doadrio, I. Journal Article 2020 Ichthyofauna from Iranian freshwater: Annotated checklist, diagnosis, taxonomy, distribution and conservation assessment
Zamanpoore, M. Book Section 2021 Biodiversity of the freshwater Amphipods in Iran
Freyhof, J., Kaya, C. and Ali, A. Book Section 2021 A critical checklist of the inland fishes native to the Euphrates and Tigris drainages
Ashraf, S., Nazemi, A. and AghaKouchak, A. Journal Article 2021 Anthropogenic drought dominates groundwater depletion in Iran
Abdullah, Y.S. Journal Article 2021 Gyrodactylus angorae (Monogenea: Gyrodactylidae): First occurrence on the body of two Nemachilid fishes from Iraq
Hashemzadeh Segherloo, I., Tabatabaei, S.N., Abdolahi-Mousavi, E., Hernandez, C., Normandeau, E., Laporte, M., Boyle, B., Amiri, M., GhaedRahmati, N., Hallerman, E. and Bernatchez, L. Journal Article 2022 eDNA metabarcoding as a means to assess distribution of subterranean fish communities: Iranian blind cave fishes as a case study
Malek-Hosseini, M.J., Jugovic, J., Fatemi, Y., Kuntner, M., Kostanjšek, R., Douady, C.J. and Malard, F. Journal Article 2022 A new obligate groundwater species of Asellus (Isopoda, Asellidae) from Iran
Malek-Hosseini, M.J., Fatemi, Y., Esmaeili, H.R., Lokovšek, T. and Kuntner, M. Journal Article 2022 A new locality for the blind loach, Eidinemacheilus smithi (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae) in Iranian Zagros: A morpho-molecular approach
Yousefi, M., Jouladeh-Roudbar, S. and Kafash, A. Journal Article 2023 Mapping endemic freshwater fish richness to identify high priority areas for conservation: an ecoregion approach