Posted 06 January 2019 - 09:10 PM
Found a Spring Cavefish (Forbesichthys agassizzii) today underneath a root wad in a small rocky creek near the lower Cumberland River here in western KY. Perhaps the recent rains we had here flushed him out of a subterranean locale. The creek is right near a lot of rocky outcrops and slabrock so there is potential habitat here for them at this site.
Never found one before so I thought I'd share. Perhaps others have found these before too.
Posted 07 January 2019 - 08:05 AM
AWESOME! I have seen a couple in Illinois. Probably one of the coolest things I have seen. I am sure you were stoked upon your finding.
Where at in Illinois did you see them?
This fish was caught right across the river from the Shawnee National Forest which I read has a population of them.
Posted 07 January 2019 - 02:10 PM
Yep. Shawnee. Literally right where water was emerging from the ground. Momentarily thought it was a salamander. I don't remember exactly where in Shawnee, but the Illinois gazetteer shows known springs, so.....
The member formerly known as Skipjack
Posted 10 January 2019 - 11:37 AM
We used to catch spring cavefish rarely when dipnetting aquatic insects in LaRue Swamp at the base of the bluffs at Pine Hills Ecological Area a few miles north of Wolf Lake, IL in far SW IL. One location had a several inch diameter standpipe that almost always contained one or two fish swimming in it. This was in the mid-1970's when I was a graduate student in entomology at Southern Illinois University. We had federal insect collecting permits as it is a US Forest Service reserve. It is in the Shawnee National Forest which covers about half of the area of the southernmost 60 miles of Illinois.
Posted 10 January 2019 - 02:11 PM
It appears the Shawnee National Forest in IL and the adjacent areas here in KY are all part of the same geologic system with lots of small spring fed creeks/watersheds. It's plausible that spring cavefish could actually be fairly abundant in the subterranean areas that are inaccessible to sampling.
We are just catching the stragglers that wash out or the ones living in the margins of said habitat from what I can deduce.
Posted 11 January 2019 - 06:17 PM
That's a really cool find! It's fascinating to think of how the subterranean world influences surface ecosystems. I have read research papers of certain plecopteran (stoneflies) that live in waterlogged substrates beneath the river bed, can spring cavefish be found in this type of habitat? How would you sample subterranean fish anyway?
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