Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Daphne Soares and colleagues on an international team of researchers, the Chinese Cavefish Working Group, have rediscovered living specimens of a fish inhabiting a subterranean river in south China after years of searching the remote area’s challenging terrain. This fish is so rare that it had been generally known from just two specimens in museum collections.
In addition to Soares, the Chinese Cavefish Working Group includes biologists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the San Antonio Zoo, the University of Alabama-Huntsville, Universidade Federal de São Carlos and Louisianan State University. The team searching for the fish —Sinocyclocheilus cyphotergous — based their quest on limited details provided by local fishermen and data from the two museum specimens.
“This extraordinary discovery highlights the breadth of biodiversity of the mostly untapped underground world, Soares says. Previously, her investigation of how creatures such as cavefish adapt to extreme environments has taken Soares to Iran and South America as well as Asia. In 2014, Soares received a Women of Discovery Award from WINGS WorldQuest, an organization that celebrates and supports the achievements of women explorers whose efforts also advance scientific discovery.
For more information, see the Newsweek article “Extremely Rare and Weird Blind Fish Found in South China Cave.”