The biology of hypogean fishes

  • Editors
  • Aldemaro Romero

Part of the Developments in environmental biology of fishes book series (DEBF, volume 21)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages 1-6
  2. An introduction to the special volume on the biology of hypogean fishes

  3. It’s a wonderful hypogean life: a guide to the troglomorphic fishes of the world

  4. Scientists prefer them blind: the history of hypogean fish research

  5. Nontroglobitic fishes in Bruffey-Hills Creek Cave, West Virginia, and other caves worldwide

  6. Anatomy, physiology and behavior

  7. Ecology and conservation

  8. Genetics and evolution

  9. Special cases

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 277-278
    2. Brooks M. Burr, Ginny L. Adams, Jean K. Krejca, Regina J. Paul, Melvin L. Warren Jr.
      Pages 279-296
    3. Dean A. Hendrickson, Jean K. Krejca, Juan Manuel Rodríguez Martinez
      Pages 315-337
    4. Luis Espinasa, Patricia Rivas-Manzano, Héctor Espinosa Pérez
      Pages 339-344
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 365-376

About this book


Hypogean (cave, artesian) fishes have fascinated researchers even before they were described in the scientific literature in 1842. Since then, a number of scientists have used them to justify their own evolutionary ideas, from neo-Lamarckism to neo-Darwinism, from neutral evolution to selectionist approaches. Research in recent years has shown that these fishes are much more complex in their adaptations to the subterranean environment than previously believed: there are those with features expected from living in total darkness (complete blindness and depigmentation) and poor in nutrients (extremely low metabolic rates); others differ very little, if any, from their epigean (surface) ancestors in their morphology and physiology (but not so in their behavior). Some of them even live in nutrient-rich environments. Actually, one of the most overlooked facets of these animals is that there are more species of hypogean fishes without troglomorphisms (blindness, depigmentation) than with troglomorphic ones. The study of these apparently `unadapted' fishes is providing new insights into our understanding of the evolution of phenotypic characters, founding effect, behavioral, and physiological adaptations. The 86 species of troglomorphic fishes described so far belong to 18 different families, many of which would hardly fit the notion that they were 'preadapted' to conquer the underground environment. Further, many troglomorphic `species' show very little genotypic differentiation when compared with their putative ancestors, indicating that massive phenotype changes can be achieved via little genetic reorganization, a reorganization that mostly affects regulatory genes. These and many other topics are discussed in this volume containing 29 papers, written by 41 authors from 9 countries. Hopefully, this volume will convince many other researchers that hypogean fishes represent a unique opportunity to study a concept in evolutionary biology that is only superficially understood: convergent evolution.


Adaptation Charles Darwin Darwin Lamarck Tempo evolution evolutionary biology genes morphology phenotype physiology

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2001
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-90-481-5848-5
  • Online ISBN 978-94-015-9795-1
  • Series Print ISSN 0924-5316
  • Buy this book on publisher's site