Prietella lundbergi, the Tamaulipan blindcat, belongs to a small and exclusively North American group of catfish (Ictaluridae) that includes three other cave-dwelling species. These relatives of Prietella are known to inhabit only a few artesian wells of the Edwards Aquifer near San Antonio, Texas, and caves in north central Coahuila state, México.
This specimen of Prietella lundbergi was collected in a subterranean thermal spring at San Rafael de los Castro, Tamaulipas State, México. Cave members of Ictaluridae are difficult to observe in the wild, thus, little is known of their life history or behavior.
Specimens of cave-dwelling catfish are rare in nature, and even more so in scientific museum collections. The rarest of all is Prietella lundbergi, known only from the holotype specimen presented here. Unique specimens such as this are too precious to subject to destructive methods like serial sectioning or clearing and staining. As a result, relatively little information about its skeleton could be extracted prior to CT scanning.
Prietella lundbergi is characterized by a reduced anterior cranial fontanelle, a reduced anterior portion of the posterior fontanelle, and the absence of a toothed sublateral portion of the premaxilla. It is most closely related to P. phreatophia, the Mexican blindcat.
About the Species
About this Specimen
The specimen, a whole pickled animal, was scanned by Richard Ketcham on 27 February 1998 along its coronal axis for a total of 1960 512x512 pixel slices. Each slice is 0.11 mm thick, with an interslice spacing of 0.10 mm (for a slice overlap of 0.01 mm) and a field of reconstruction of 15.8 mm.
Hendrickson, D. A., J. M. Krejca, and J. M. Rodriguez. 2001. Mexican blindcats, genus Prietella (Ictaluridae): review and status based on recent explorations. Environmental Biology of Fishes 62:315-337.
Hendrickson, D. A., F. Garcia de Leon, and D. M. Hillis, in review. Phylogenetic relationships and geographic variation of Prietella (Siluriformes: Ictaluridae) of northeast Mexico as inferred from mtDNA sequences. Copeia.
Hendrickson, D. A., and T. B. Rowe. 2000. High-resolution X-ray CT scans of Prietella lundbergi, an extremely rare blind cave catfish (Ictaluridae) from southern Tamaulipas, México. Abstract, 80th annual meeting of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, La Paz, Baja California Sur, México.
Walsh, S. J., and C. R. Carter. 1995. New species of Troglobitic catfish of the genus Prietella (Siluriformes: Ictaluridae) from northeastern Mexico. Copeia 1995:850-861.
Prietella lundbergi on FishBase