Mexican Blindcat   FISH
Mexican Blindcat
Mexican Blindcat
Dante Fanolio
Scientific Name:
Prietella phreatophila
Other Names and/or Listed subspecies:
Blind Cave Catfish, Bagre De Muzquiz
Status/Date Listed as Endangered:
EN-US FWS: June 2, 1970
EN-IUCN: 1996
Area(s) Where Listed As Endangered:

The Mexican blindcat is a catfish species found in Northern Coahuila, Mexico. This fish lacks skin pigmentation, resulting in a pinkish-white coloration. Blindcats have no need for eyes since they dwell in cave-like/groundwater environments. Adults only reach up to 0.5 inches in length. Although this fish has no eyes, it is able to move around by feeling around its environment with its barbells and possibly by sensing electrical fields.

This fish occurs in dark, underground, freshwater pools and wells in tropical areas of its range. The groundwater habitat of this species is not usually thought of as a fish habitat, since most groundwater is trapped in tiny pores in rocks or spaces between gravels. These unusual aquatic habitats are called “hypogeous,” which means “underground habitat.” When ready to reproduce, males dig shallow nests where the females lay the eggs. The eggs are then fertilized (while in the nest). Both parents guard the nest until they hatch.

Although this species is found in several locations, it is listed as endangered and protected by the Mexican government since its range is restricted and there are threats such as pollution and human disturbance. Some populations have been severely affected by habitat damage caused by pollution by nutrients and pesticides, and overcollecting.

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