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Prietella phreatophila Carranza, 1954

Image contributors to this species:

Danté Fenolio (2)

ScotCat Sources:

Etymology = Genus Etymology = Species

Other Sources:

Fishbase  Google Search  All Catfish Species Inventory

Relevant Information:

The Mexican Blindcat lacks eyes and is pinkish white. The dorsal fin lacks a spine. The snout overhangs the mouth. The adipose fin is joined to the caudal fin without an obvious flap posteriorly. There are 15 caudal rays and 10-14 rakers on the first gill arch. The edge of the caudal fin is straight. There are well developed lateral-line canals and pores on the head. There are two species in this genus, P. phreatophila and P. lundbergi from the Tamesí River drainage, northeastern México. Taylor (1955, 1969) suggested that P. phreatophila is the sister group of of the large and extensive genus Noturus. Like many organisms that inhabit caves the Mexican blindcat possesses no eyes, which is compensated by the development of other senses. Studies have shown that the Mexican blindcat has acute hearing and can rapidly perceive the odour or taste of non-moving food, such as mosquito larvae. Aggressive encounters between Mexican blindcats have been observed, during which they bite at one another and then lock jaws, often remaining in mouth to mouth contact for many hours. All of the aggressive individuals appeared to be males; however, the reason behind this hostile behaviour is not yet fully understood. Mexican blindcats have also been seen resting motionless on the substrate, or drifting with currents. This behaviour would seem to leave this small fish extremely vulnerable to predation, and thus may reflect the lack of predators in their natural habitat. Remarks: In the IUCN Red list of Threatened species, P. phreatophila is listed as threatened.

Common Name:

Mexican blindcat






North America: Mexico; Caves in Bravo River basin, Coahuila, from near Múzquiz northward to about 50 km SW of Ciudad Acuña and to near Allende. Type locality: Well at base of Sierra de Santa Rosa, ca. 27º55'N, 101º07'W, Múzquiz, Coahuila state, Mexico.


9cm. T.L. (14ins)


15 -23°C (57-73°F)


6.0 -7.5.


Graham S. Proudlove. Subterranean fishes of the world. An account of the subterranean (hypogean) fishes described to 2003 with a bibliography 1541–200.
Arkive.org. http://www.arkive.org/mexican-blindcat/prietella-phreatophila/
Contreras-Balderas, S. & Almada-Villela, P. 1996. Prietella phreatophila. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>
Page, Larry. 2007. Prietella phreatophila Carranza 1954. Mexican Blindact. Version 23 May 2007 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Prietella_phreatophila/69913/2007.05.23 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/



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