Southern Cavefish
Typhlichthys subterraneus
About This Fish

The Southern Cavefish has a disjunct distribution occurring in the Ozark Mountains in Missouri and Arkansas, the lower Ohio River Drainage, including the Tennessee and Cumberland river drainages in Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, and a few isolated populations in the Mobile Basin in Alabama. They live over a variety of substrates in underground pools and streams. Southern Cavefish are completely adapted for life in total darkness, lacking eyes, pigment, and pelvic fins, as well as having extensive sensory canals and papillae to detect water movement to navigate, find prey, and avoid predation.


Niemiller, M.L., G.O. Graening, D.B. Fenolio, J.C. Godwin, J.R. Cooley, W.D. Pearson, B.M. Fitzpatrick and T.J. Near. 2013. Doomed before they are described? The need for conservation assessments of cryptic species complexes using an amblyopsid cavefish (Amblyopsidae: Typhlichthys) as a case study. Biodiversity and Conservation, 22(8), 1799-1820.

Niemiller, M.L., T.J. Near, and B.M. Fitzpatrick. 2012. Delimiting species using multilocus data: diagnosing cryptic diversity in the southern cavefish, Typhlichthys subterraneus (Teleostei: Amblyopsidae). Evolution: International Journal of Organic Evolution, 66(3), 846-866.

Romero, A., M.S. Connor, and G.L. Vaughan. 2010. Population status of the Southern Cavefish, Typhlichthys subterraneus in Arkansas. Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science, 64(1), 106-110.

Romero Jr, A., and M. Conner. 2007. Status Report for the Southern Cavefish, Typhlichthys subterraneus in Arkansas.

Lewis, J.J. 2002. Conservation assessment for southern cavefish (Typhlichthys subterraneus). Prepared for USDA Forest Service, Eastern Region, Mark Twain National Forest, Indiana, USA.

Bergstrom, D.E. 1997. The Phylogeny and Historical Biogeography of Missouri's Amblyopis Rosae (Ozark Cavefish) and Typhlichthys Subterraneus (Southern Cavefish) (Doctoral dissertation, University of Missouri-Columbia).

Green, S.M., and A. Romero. 1997. Responses to light in two blind cave fishes (Amblyopsis spelaea and Typhlichthys subterraneus)(Pisces: Amblyopsidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes, 50(2), 167-174.

Schubert, A.L.S., and D.B. Noltie. 1995. Laboratory studies of substrate and microhabitat selection in the southern cavefish (Typhlichthys subterraneus Girard). Ecology of Freshwater Fish, 4(4), 141-151.

Schubert, A.L., C.D. Nielsen, and D.B. Noltie. 1993. Habitat use and gas bubble disease in southern cavefish (Typhlichthys subterraneus). International journal of speleology, 22(1), 5.

Schubert, A.L.S. 1993. Microhabitat selection and feeding in the southern cavefish (Typhlichthys subterraneus) (Doctoral dissertation, University of Missouri-Columbia).

Jones, S.R. 1985. A range revision for western populations of the southern cavefish Typhlichthys subterraneus (Amblyopsidae). American Midland Naturalist, 413-415.

Mayden, R.L., and F.B. Cross. 1983. Reevaluation of Oklahoma records of the southern cavefish, Typhlichthys subterraneus Girard (Amblyopsidae). The Southwestern Naturalist, 28(4), 471-473.

Cooper, J.E., and D.P. Beiter. 1972. The southern cavefish, Typhlichthys subterraneus (Pisces: Amblyopsidae), in the eastern Mississippian Plateau of Kentucky. Copeia, 1972(4), 879-881.

Cooper, J.E., A. Iles. 1971. The southern cavefish Typhlichthys subterraneus, at the southeastern periphery of its range. National Speleological Society Bulletin, 33, 45-49.