Ozark cavefish are small, blind fish that appear pink and white due to a lack of pigment, revealing their inner organs. They were listed as threatened in 1984 under the Endangered Species Act. Primary threats to the species are water contamination and depletion of the groundwater from farming, mining and urban development.
The head of Ozark cavefish are dorsoventrally flattened, with a slightly protruding lower jaw. The fish have no pelvic fins. The dorsal and anal fins are located more posterior than usual. The caudal fin is rounded and has two to three rows of sensory papillae on the upper and lower halves. The literature provides conflicting information on maximum length, but individuals of up to 65 millimeters were documented in surveys conducted at Logan Cave.
Ozark cavefish lack melanophores, a type of pigment cell that produces and stores melanin. As a result, these fish appear pinkish-white due to the visibility of their internal organs.
Cavefish occur in groundwater habitats like the Springfield Plateau Aquifer, within Boone and Burlington Formation limestones. They also live in cave streams with chert rubble substrate, wells and sinkholes, and occasionally, in the soil phreatic zone.
Cavefish diets are not well understood, but are believed to include small crayfish, isopods, copepods, ostracods, larval salamanders and young of their own.
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