|Home||*||Cave Loach -> First Published||*||Next Page||*|
Subterranean biodiversity in Europe is spectacularly rich, with the Western Balkans being home to about 400 cave species, representing the highest number of species per area worldwide  . Nonetheless, cave fishes, which are the most commonly found vertebrates in underground habitats  , have not been described from Europe so far  . Here, we report the first European record of a cave fish population, a loach of the genus Barbatula ( Figure 1 ), found in the Danube–Aach system, an underground karst water system in Southern Germany  . The fish exhibit traits typically observed in organisms adapted to subterranean life including reduced eyes and pale body coloration  . The newly discovered population also represents globally the northernmost cave fish found so far. The geological history of the region implies that the Danube–Aach system was colonized post-glacially. A recent origin of the cave fish is supported by genetic analyses, because the subterranean population shares COI gene haplotypes with adjacent surface stone loach (Barbatula barbatula) populations ( Figure 1 D). Nonetheless, population genetic analyses based on microsatellites indicated that cave fish are genetically isolated from populations in surface habitats ( Figure 1 E) and exhibit reduced genetic variability. Hence, the newly discovered European cave loaches do not represent individuals displaced from surface populations, but they follow a unique evolutionary trajectory towards cave life.
|Research leader:||Jasminca GB+
Jens-Uwe H+, Kai K+, Christian M+
|Film Edits:||Jolle J+
Freunde der Aachhöhle e.V.
Bilder: Joachim K+
Text and Layout: Joachim K+,
Home, Impressum, Disclamer, Datenschutz and Sitemap
Last Update: 26.04.2017