Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Cypriniformes Balitoridae

Scientific Name: Cryptotora thamicola
Species Authority: (Kottelat, 1988)
Common Name(s):
English Waterfall Climbing Cave Fish
Homaloptera thamicola Kottelat, 1988
Taxonomic Notes: Previously assessed in the 2002 Red List (and 1996 and 2000) under the generic name of Homaloptera. This species was transferred to the monospecific genus Cryptotora by Maurice Kottelat in November 1998.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B2ab(iii); D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-02-23
Assessor(s): Vidthayanon, C.
Reviewer(s): Kottelat, M., Parenti, L. & Smith, K.
The species has been recorded from eight subterranean sites within a large karst system (Pang Mapha karst formation) in Mae Hongson Province, Thailand. The species has an Extent of Occurrence of nearly 200 km2, but and Area of Occupancy of 6 km2. The connectivity of this karst sytems is unknown, some caves are definitely connected. The species is found in eight locations based on the current threat to the species (habitat degradation by cave tourism). Therefore the species is assessed as Vulnerable. However the species has a potential threat of agricultural pollution which could impact the whole karst system, making it one location. If this was to impact the species it would qualify for Critically Endangered. It may also occur in other caves in the area.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Vulnerable (VU)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Observed from eight subterranean sites within a large karst system (Pang Mapha karst formation) in Mae Hongson Province, Thailand. It has been recorded from the Susa (from where it was first collected in May 1985) and Mae Lana caves (Borowsky and Vidthayanon 2001). The connectivity of this karst systems is unknown, some are definitely connected. It may also occur in other submerged caves in the area.
Countries occurrence:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 6
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: A population of less than 2,000 individuals has been estimated by Borowsky and Vidthayanon (2001) from molecular analysis.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 2000

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is depigmented and has no visible eyes. This species coexists with another hypogean loach, Schistura oedipus. The species is specialized for fast subterranean flowing water in the deeper zone of the cave (more than 500m from the entrance). It depends on cave micro-organism and organic matter, and is very sensitive to disturbance, water quality and hydrographic change.
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Human disturbance from tourism activity (some of the habitat sites are popular for caving tourism and sightseeing) may threaten the species. Agriculture and deforestation are future major threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is protected under Thai law, and is found within a National Park (Pai Basin NP), but this does not necessarily protect the species as there is little restrictions on agricultural practices and regulation of tourism is needed to reduce the potential impacts to the species habitat at some sites.

Citation: Vidthayanon, C. 2013. Cryptotora thamicola. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T41407A10459372. . Downloaded on 13 October 2015.
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