Ozark Cavefish (Amblyopsis rosae)
Ozark cavefish is a threatened species. Threatened species are animals
and plants that are likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future.
Endangered Species are animals and plants that are in danger of becoming
extinct. Identifying, protecting, and restoring, endangered and threatened
species is the primary objective of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's
endangered species program.
is the Ozark cavefish?
Name - Amblyopsis rosae
- Appearance - The Ozark cavefish is a small fish about 2-1/4 inches long. It is
pinkish-white and blind.
- Habitat - The Ozark cavefish lives in cave streams and springs. The cave ecosystem
is often dependent upon bats (especially gray bats) as a source of energy
- Reproduction - Very little is known about the reproduction of the Ozark cavefish.
Spawning is often triggered by spring floods. The greatest obstacle
to the cavefish may be finding a potential mate at the right time.
Habitats - Because it cannot see, the cavefish depends on sensing
water movement to find animals to eat. The cavefish primarily eats plankton.
They also eat isopods, amphipods, crayfish, salamander larvae, and bat
- Range - The cavefish can be found in caves within the Springfield Plateau
of the Ozark Highlands in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
Is the Ozark Cavefish Threatened?
Pollution - Chemicals in the groundwater threaten the cavefish.
of Habitat - Some caves have intentionally been sealed shut
by humans. Sealing cave entrances cuts off the food supply to the cave
ecosystem. Other caves have been inundated by reservoirs or have dried
up due to lowered water tables, drastically changing the habitat.
- Overcollection - Ozark cavefish taken from the wild by collectors can hurt
or eliminate local populations.
- Disturbance - Exploration of caves by careless recreational cavers can damage the
cave ecosystem. Disturbances can destroy the habitat, interrupt the
breeding of the cavefish, and cause the fish to leave.
Is Being Done to Prevent Extinction of the Ozark cavefish?
- Listing - The Ozark cavefish was added to the U.S. List of Endangered and Threatened
Wildlife and Plants on December 3, 1984.
Plan - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has developed a recovery
plan that describes actions needed to help the cavefish survive.
Protection - A variety of government and private conservation
agencies are all working to preserve the Ozark cavefish and its habitat.
Some private landowners have voluntarily agreed to protect caves and
help improve the groundwater on their land.
Can I Do to Help Prevent the Extinction of Species?
- Learn - Learn more about the Ozark cavefish and other endangered and threatened
species. Understand how the destruction of habitat leads to loss of
endangered and threatened species and our nation's plant and animal
diversity. Tell others about what you have learned.
- Write - Write to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or your state fish and
game agency to learn more about endangered and threatened species.
- Join - Join a conservation group; many have local chapters.