Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Ophidiiformes Bythitidae

Scientific Name: Ogilbia galapagosensis
Species Authority: (Poll & LeLeup, 1965)
Common Name(s):
English Galapagos Cuskeel
Caecogilbia galapagosensis Poll and LeLeup 1965
Taxonomic Notes: There are no specimens known from any collection. The seven type specimens are missing. This species was collected from four cave systems in Santa Cruz Island in the 1960s. It is currently known from photographs and observations in the wild from the 1990s.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2008-04-29
Assessor(s): Nielsen, J.G., Munroe, T., Tyler, J. & Robertson, R.
Reviewer(s): Carpenter, K., Polidoro, B. & Livingstone, S. (Global Marine Species Assessment Team)
This species has a very limited distribution which may be impacted by a single severe ENSO or seismic event destroying the cave habitats that this species is dependent upon. Regional experts support the plausible threat of the increased duration and frequency of ENSO events that can cause severe and rapid declines for restricted-range, shallow-water species in this region of the Eastern Tropical Pacific. This species is listed as Vulnerable under Criterion D2. Further research needs to be conducted to determine whether this species is found in other locations and whether the populations are genetically separate.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Data Deficient (DD)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is only known from four brackish caves on Santa Cruz Island of the Galápagos.
Countries occurrence:
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – southeast
Number of Locations: 1
Lower depth limit (metres): 5
Upper depth limit (metres): 1
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: No population data is available for this species.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species inhabits rocky caves in fresh and brackish waters. This unique habitat type is found as small, isolated patches scattered throughout the islands. It is found from 0.5-5 m but may be found as deep as 10 m. It is viviparous (Møller et al. 2005). This species is found in groups of 4-20 individuals.
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The presence of freshwater intrusion in brackish caves in active volcanic areas is likely to be ephemeral, however, rainfall varies greatly over the ENSO cycle (increases dramatically during ENSO events). In the Eastern Tropical Pacific, severe localized fish species declines have occurred after strong ENSO events that result in shallow waters that are too warm and nutrient poor for extended periods of time (Grove 1985, Edgar et al. 2009). The frequency and duration of ENSO events in this region of the Eastern Tropical Pacific (e.g. the up-welling zone off the coast of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama and the offshore islands) appears to be increasing (Glynn and Ault 2000, Soto 2001, Chen et al. 2004). Given this species’ restricted distribution and shallow water habitat, oceanographic environmental changes including changes in freshwater regime, such as those associated with future ENSO events, may have detrimental effects on the survival of this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species specific conservation measures. However, this species' distribution falls entirely within the Marine Protected Area of the Galápagos islands. Research should be conducted to determine where suitable caves are located within this species' distribution and whether this species is found within those caves. Genetic assessments should also be conducted to determine relationships between populations among different cave systems on the same island and potentially between islands.

Citation: Nielsen, J.G., Munroe, T., Tyler, J. & Robertson, R. 2010. Ogilbia galapagosensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T15184A4499879. . Downloaded on 10 October 2015.
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