Southern Cavefish

Typhlichthys subterraneus
Amblyopsidae (cavefishes) in the order Percopsiformes (trout-perch and allies)

Long, flattened head without eyes (the only other Missouri fish that lacks eyes is the Ozark cavefish). Unpigmented, resulting in a whitish pink appearance due to blood vessels under the skin. Pelvic fins absent; tail fin is rounded. Scales are extremely small, giving the body the appearance of being scaleless. Anus located far forward on body, under throat in adults.

Total length: 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches; maximum size to about 3 1/2 inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
Only found in cave streams, wells and spring outlets. Not believed to have any daily peak activity.
Microcrustaceans, crayfish and aquatic insect larvae. Cavefish have a low metabolic rate, which allows them to go without food for an extended period of time.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Inhabits underground waters of central and southern Ozarks.
A Species of Conservation Concern in Missouri. Threats include illegal collection for aquariums, groundwater pollution, groundwater removal and habitat flooding by reservoir construction.
Life cycle: 
Lifespan is unknown, believed to be longer than 10 years. It is believed that these cavefish spawn when water is high in February through April and that females carry the eggs in the gill chamber for 4 to 5 months until hatching. Up to 50 eggs can spawn from one female.
Human connections: 
Human wealth takes many forms, in addition to the common sense of “money.” That Missouri—the Cave State—is blessed with such interesting subterranean features and an abundance of fascinating, rare and elegant creatures, makes us rich beyond description.
Ecosystem connections: 
Our three species of cavefishes live in specialized habitats, and as some of the top underwater predators where they live, they occupy an important position.
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