By Maya Rhodan
June 20, 2016

A rare species of fish, typically found in Mexico, has been discovered in a cave in Texas suggesting the two countries are linked via caverns.

“Since the 1960s there have been rumors of sightings of blind, white catfishes in that area, but this is the first confirmation,” said Dean Hendrickson of the University of Texas at Austin. “I’ve seen more of these things than anybody, and these specimens look just like the ones from Mexico.”

The blind catfish—known as a Mexican blindcat—was recorded by a team from the University of Texas at Austin after being spotted and captured swimming near Del Rio in Texas. A National Park Service employee first spotted the fish with translucent skin and short, eyeless bodies, last April near limestone cave.

This discovery marks the first time the fish was seen outside of Mexican waters. The fish is typical to the northern waters of the Rio Grande.

Because the fish dwell in subterranean habitats, the need for eyesight and scaly skin is diminished leading to their distinct look. Scientists says the fish rely on their sensitive hearing to capture prey. According to the University of Texas at Austin the fish are being held in a special facility at the San Antonio Zoo that can accommodate cave-dwelling fish. They are not currently on display.

 

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