Clarias cavernicola

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Cave catfish
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Clariidae
Genus: Clarias
Species: C. cavernicola
Binomial name
Clarias cavernicola
Trewavas, 1936

The cave catfish, Clarias cavernicola, is a species of freshwater catfish. They are only known to live in one location: an underground lake in Aigamas Cave, which is near Otavi, in the Kalahari Desert of Namibia. The lake is 45 m2 (480 sq ft) in area and about 30 to 52 m (98 to 171 ft) deep. The water level has been steadily dropping from being extracted by humans. The lake is a major water supply in an otherwise very dry area. Because of this, the species is considered critically endangered.[1] It is estimated that there are about 150 individuals living in the lake.[1][2]

The fish live in the shallow areas of the lake in open, clear water. They feed on detritus (bat droppings and carcasses) and insects that fall into the lake.[3] Not much is known about how the species reproduces.[4] Attempts to breed the fish in captivity have failed.[2]

The fish grow up to 16.1 cm (6.3 in) long. Having evolved in the darkness of the cave, they have no pigment.[3] The fish is white in colour. It has a long eel-like body, with long dorsal and anal fins. The head has a rounded snout with four pairs of thin barbels.[4] The fish have very small eyes, which are covered with skin.[3] They are blind, and find food using taste and other senses on the barbels.[4]

References[change | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Skelton (1996). Clarias cavernicola. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Listed as Critically Endangered (CR B1+2c, E v2.3)
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Clarias cavernicola". National Museum of Namibia. Archived from the original on 19 February 2005. http://web.archive.org/web/20050219200915/http://natmus.cul.na/projects/cave/clarias.html.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2011). "Clarias cavernicola" in FishBase. December 2011 version.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Cave catfish (Clarias cavernicola)". ARKive. Wildscreen. http://www.arkive.org/species/GES/fish/Clarias_cavernicola/. Retrieved 17 February 2013.

Other websites[change | edit source]