Blind cavefish species found in S China's underground stream

Updated: Jun 3, 2024 Xinhua Print
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NANNING -- A new fish species without functional eyes has been discovered in a subterranean river within a cave in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

The translucent fish, Karstsinnectes longzhouensis, belongs to the genus Karstsinnectes. Chinese scientists, in a paper published in the international journal Zoosystematics and Evolution, have named it after Longzhou county of Guangxi, where the species was found.

Ge Jiayue, the first author of the paper from Guangxi Normal University, said the fish is blind, with its eyes completely degenerated and only a tiny eye spot remaining.

According to the research, Karstsinnectes is a new genus established in 2023 and is endemic to China. It is known to be in parts of Guangxi and neighboring Guizhou province. The fish in this genus are all typical cave-dwelling species.

Researchers pointed out that cavefish are highly sensitive to environmental changes, such as human activities and climate change, which put them at high risk of extinction. The protection of these rare and unique species is of great significance for the understanding of evolution mechanisms and biodiversity conservation in karst geomorphic areas.

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