In-situ observations of seven enigmatic cave loaches and one cave barbel from Guangxi, China, with notes on conservation status

Dante Fenolio, Yahui Zhao, Matthew L Niemiller, Jim F Stout

Abstract


South China’s vast karst region is one of the largest contiguous limestone units in the world at over 620,000 km2.  Not surprisingly, China boasts endemic and unique subterranean faunas, including the greatest number of subterranean fishes on the planet.  We report natural history details for several Chinese balitorid loaches and for one cyprinid species that we encountered during fieldwork in China.  We also include the conservation status for our focal species: the Blind Cave Loach (Oreonectes anopthalmus), the Luocheng Cave Loach (O. luochengensis), the Large-scaled Cave Loach (O. macrolepis), the Small-eyed Cave Loach (O. micropthalmus), the Nadan Plateau Cave Loach (Triplophysa nadanensis), the Tian’e Plateau Cave Loach (T. tianeensis), the Xia’ao Blind Cave Loach (Protocobitis typhlops), and the Crossed Fork Back Golden Line Barbel (Sinocyclocheilus furcodorsalis).   


Keywords


Chinese cave fish, Guangxi, China, Balitoridae, Nemacheilinae, Triplophysa, Oreonectes, Protocobitis, Cyprinidae, Sinocyclocheilus, foraging behavior, reproductive output, burying behavior, ontogenetic development, eye spot development, conservation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5563/spbn.v5i0.42