Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Largest Cave Fish: Sinocylocheilus microphthalmus or Small Eye Golden-line Fish

Another amazing fish- Sinocyclocheilus microphthalmus. Rumor has it, that this is the largest cave dwelling fish in the world. Is true? I don't know. I suppose there is some other giant cave monster fish somewhere that we have not seen. It's a cave fish from China in a Cyprinidae family. It has also been referred to as Small Eye Golden-line Fish. The fish clearly exhibits every sign of troglomorphism. Troglomorphism usually presents in reduction or loss of eyes, pigmentation, scales or swimbladder. China has the highest number of cave fish in the world. About 48 troglobite species out of a total of 101 cave fish. All fishes from the genus Sinocyclocheilus have humps and horns, function of which is till unknown.

Sinocyclocheilus microphthalmus in it's native habitat

This from is not as troglomophic as the others.  It seems to have more pigment.  

Sinocylocheilus microphthalmus or Small Eye Golden-line Fish

Apparently some populations of Sinocylocheilus microphthalmus are completely eyeless. Would this be a separate specie? or a sub-species?  Or is this just a different form of the same fish?   Now, I have seen these fish in a private aquarium.  Well, not the actual fish, but photos on Monster Fish Keepers Forum.  Apparently a few of them were imported into US.

Here is the closele related troglomorphic specie called Sinocyclocheilus tileihornes (also from China).  It looks like it has a completely different head horn or a hump.

Another view of the head horn on Sinocyclocheilus tileihornes

Another related cave fish: Sinocyclocheilus furcodorsalis.  This one does not have such a pronounced hump or a horn.

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