Amblyopsis rosae 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Percopsiformes Amblyopsidae

Scientific Name: Amblyopsis rosae
Species Authority: (Eigenmann, 1898)
Common Name(s):
English Ozark Cavefish

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2012-04-26
Assessor(s): NatureServe
Reviewer(s): Smith, K. & Darwall, W.R.T.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Hammerson, G.A. & Ormes, M.
This species is listed as Near Threatened because: extent of occurrence is less than 20,000 sq km; area of occupancy is unknown but exceeds 10 sq km; number of locations is uncertain but more than 10; distribution is not severely fragmented; population size is unknown but probably exceeds 250 mature individuals; and trend in habitat quality, number of subpopulations, and probably population size appears to be slowly declining. Thus the species meets some, but not all, of the criteria for Vulnerable status.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Vulnerable (V)
1990 Vulnerable (V)
1988 Vulnerable (V)
1986 Vulnerable (V)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Range includes the Springfield Plateau of the Ozark Highlands in southwestern Missouri, northwestern Arkansas, and northeastern Oklahoma (Brown and Willis 1984); this region is drained by the White, Neosho, and Osage rivers (USFWS 2011).
Countries occurrence:
United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Ozark cavefish are consistently seen at 16 of the 41 known "active" sites (USFWS 2011). Based on groundwater recharge zones, the number of locations (as defined by IUCN) is more than 10.

Total adult population size is unknown. "A range-wide estimate of countable cavefish using the most recent population monitoring numbers suggests 213 individuals. It is generally acknowledged that this species is a groundwater obligate and this estimate does not reflect actual numbers. Biologists only count fish in accessible reaches of caves and wells, and are unable to access groundwater conduits where fish may be distributed throughout." Source: USFWS (2011).

Just two caves represent approximately 80 percent of the countable cavefish (USFWS 2011).

This species currently exists in 41 caves and wells, whereas historically it occurred at about 52 sites (see USFWS 2011). However, the majority of the 41 sites have not had confirmed cavefish sightings for at least six years (USFWS 2011).

"There is no evidence over the past year to indicate population declines. However, 17 of 35 occupied sites have not had a documented cavefish in 6+ years. Sufficient documentation does not exist at this time to indicate whether the loss of these sites is indicative of large-scale population declines or site-specific declines at the extant localities." Source: USFWS (2011).

Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain, but area of occupancy and abundance probably are slowly declining. "Using monitoring numbers and professional judgement of cavefish biologists for determining population trend, six populations have declined, 25 are undetermined, and 10 are stable. Of populations that are undetermined and/or unoccupied, infrequency of survey and site accessibility issues may be contributing factors." Source: USFWS (2011).
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Habitat includes dark cave waters, primarily clear streams with chert or rubble bottom, occasionally pools over silt or sand bottom. See Willis and Brown (1985). See Lister and Noltie (no date) for detailed information on the characteristics of occupied and unoccupied habitat.
Systems: Freshwater
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Threats include water pollution from agricultural and urban sources, flooding by reservoirs, closing of cave entrances, accidental spills of contaminants along transportation routes, restricted habitat, and heavy use of some sites by cavers (Willis and Brown 1985, Brown and Todd 1987, Aley and Aley 1997, USFWS 2011). Water quality threats are typically from non-point sources and difficult to regulate (USFWS 2011). Increased groundwater withdrawals for home, community, and agricultural use, depletes groundwater and limits available habitat (USFWS 2011). Several populations have been extirpated as a result of stocking of trout, filling in of cave/sinkhole entrances, contaminant spills, or flooding by reservoirs (USFWS 2011). Possible reduction of bat populations resulting from white-nose syndrome is regarded as a potential threat (USFWS 2011).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation needs include restricting human access to subterranean habitat and protecting watershed from pollution.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.18. Wetlands (inland) - Karst and Other Subterranean Hydrological Systems (inland)
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.1. Recreational activities
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%)   

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.5. Abstraction of ground water (domestic use)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%)   

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.7. Abstraction of ground water (agricultural use)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%)   

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.11. Dams (size unknown)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Unknown   

9. Pollution -> 9.1. Domestic & urban waste water -> 9.1.1. Sewage
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Whole (>90%)   

9. Pollution -> 9.1. Domestic & urban waste water -> 9.1.2. Run-off
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Whole (>90%)   

9. Pollution -> 9.2. Industrial & military effluents -> 9.2.1. Oil spills
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Whole (>90%)   

9. Pollution -> 9.2. Industrial & military effluents -> 9.2.2. Seepage from mining
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Unknown   

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.1. Nutrient loads
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%)   

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.3. Herbicides and pesticides
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%)   

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

Bibliography [top]

Aley, T. and Aley, C. 1997. Groundwater recharge area delineation, hydrobiological assessment, and vulnerability mapping of four Ozark cavefish (Amblyopsis rosae) populations in Missouri. A Report to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Brown, A.V. 1991. Status survey of Amblyopsis rosae in Arkansas. A final report submitted to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Little Rock, Arkansas.

Brown, A.V. and Todd, C.S. 1987. Status review of the threatened Ozark cavefish (Amblyopsis rosae). Proceedings of the Arkansas Academy of Science 41: 99-100.

Brown, A.V. and Willis, L.D. 1984. Cavefish (Amblyopsis rosae) in Arkansas: populations, incidence, habitat requirements and mortality factors. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Final Report, Federal Aid Project E-1-6.

Figg, D.E. 1991. Missouri Department of Conservation Annual Nongame and Endangered Species Report July 1990 - June 1991.

Figg, D.E. 1993. Missouri Department of Conservation wildlife diversity report, July 1992-June 1993.

Figg, D.E. and Bessken, C.M. 1995. Missouri Department of Conservation wildlife diversity report: July 1994 - June 1995.

IUCN. 2014. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. Available at: (Accessed: 13 November 2014).

Jones, S.R. and Taber, C.A. 1985. A range revision for western populations of the southern cavefish Typhlichthys subterraneus (Amblyopsidae). American Midland Naturalist 113: 413-415.

Lee, D.S., Gilbert, C.R., Hocutt, C.H., Jenkins, R.E., McAllister, D.E. and Stauffer, J.R., Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Lister, K.B. and Noltie, D.B. 1995 or 1996. An assessment of in situ habitat utilization by Ozark cavefish (Amblyopsis rosae).

Matthews, J.R. and Moseley, C.J. (eds). 1990. The Official World Wildlife Fund Guide to Endangered Species of North America. Volume 1. Plants, Mammals. xxiii + pp 1-560 + 33 pp. appendix + 6 pp. glossary + 16 pp. index, pp. 1180. Beacham Publications, Inc., Washington, D.C.

Means, M.L. 1993. Population dynamics and movement of Ozark cavefish in Logan Cave NWR, Benton County, Arkansas with additional baseline water quality information. M.S. thesis, University of Arkansas.

Means, M.L. and Johnson, J.E. 1995. Movement of threatened Ozark cavefish in Logan Cave National Wildlife Refuge, Arkansas. Southwestern Naturalist 40(3): 308-309.

Nelson, J.S., Crossman, E.J., Espinosa-Perez, H., Findley, L.T., Gilbert, C.R., Lea, R.N. and Williams, J.D. 2004. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland.

Ono, R.D., Williams, J.D. and Wagner, A. 1983. Vanishing Fishes of North America. Stone Wall Press, Washington, DC.

Page, L.M. and Burr, B.M. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes: North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.

Page, L.M. and Burr, B.M. 2011. Peterson field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, Massachusetts.

Pflieger, W.L. 1975. The fishes of Missouri. Missouri Department of Conservation, Columbia, Missouri.

Poulson, T.L. 1961. Cave adaptation in Amblyopsid fishes. Ph.D. thesis, University of Michigan.

Poulson, T.L. 1963. Cave adaptation in amblyopsid fishes. American Midland Naturalist 70(2): 257-290.

Poulson, T.L. 1969. Population size, density and regulation in cavefishes. Proceedings of the 4th International Congress of Speleology in Yugoslavia: 189-195.

Poulson, T.L. 1991. Assessing groundwater quality in caves using indices of biological integrity. Proceedings of the Third Conference on Hydrology, Ecology, Monitoring and Management of Ground Water in Karst Terrains.: 495-511. Dublin, Ohio.

Robins, C.R., Bailey, R.M., Bond, C.E., Brooker, J.R., Lachner, E.A., Lea, R.N. and Scott, W.B. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society.

Robison, H.W. and Buchanan, T.M. 1988. Fishes of Arkansas. The University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, Arkansas.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1990. Endangered and threatened species recovery program: report to Congress.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2011. Ozark cavefish (Amblyopsis rosae Eigenmann 1898). 5-year review: summary and evaluation. USFWS, Arkansas Ecological Services Field Office, Conway, Arkansas.

Willis, L.D. and Brown, A.V. 1985. Distribution and habitat requirements of the Ozark cavefish, Amblyopsis rosae. American Midland Naturalist 114: 311-317.

Citation: NatureServe. 2014. Amblyopsis rosae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T1079A19032420. . Downloaded on 30 November 2015.
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