Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waterfall Climbing Cave Fish

Cryptotora thamicola
Today's animal is one of those strange, mysterious cave dwellers that is rarely seen by human eyes. Its common name is the Waterfall Climbing Cave Fish, and it does exactly what its name describes! These fish have fins that allow them to climb, and have been founding moving up ledges near small underground waterfalls!

The species has only been found in eight subterranean sites within Thailand's Pang Mapha karst formation. It is believed that they only live within that formation, as it is unknown whether those caves are connected to ones elsewhere.

Like many cave dwellers, the Waterfall Climbing Cave Fish have adapted to their dark surroundings. They have no eyes, and their bodies lack all pigmentation. Because why waste valuable energy on sight and color when it is pitch black anyway? They live in fast moving underground water, and feed off of the small organisms that live within the cave (and they themselves are very small, only about 1in long).

The fish are listed as Vulnerable because they are very, very sensitive to water changes and disturbances within their environment. They also have a small range that happens to be popular with spelunking tourists, so humans could have a detrimental impact on the species as well. Overall they are very rare and are rarely seen.

IUCN Status : Vulnerable
Location : Thailand
Size : Length up to 1in (2.5cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Actinopterygii -- Order : Cypriniformes
Family : Balitoridae -- Genus : Cryptotora -- Species : C. thamicola

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