Clarias cavernicola


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Clarias cavernicola
Species Authority: Trewavas, 1936
Common Name(s):
English Cave Catfish

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2007
Date Assessed: 2007-03-01
Assessor(s): Bills, R.
Reviewer(s): Snoeks, J. (Freshwater Fish Red List Authority) & Darwall, W. (Freshwater Biodiversity Assessment Unit)
Occurs in a single location (Aigamas Cave, Namibia). There is a threat to the cave's water source and thus to the species environment from ground water extraction. The potential threat of illegal collectors for the aquarium trade also exists. Given that the area of the lake is 18 m X 2.5 m and that the water level has been steadily dropping due to water extraction the species qualifies as Critically Endangered under criterion B due to restricted range, single location and ongoing decline in the extent of available habitat.
1996 Critically Endangered
1994 Endangered (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Endangered (IUCN 1990)
1988 Endangered (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Endangered (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Known only from the type locality: Aigamas Cave, Otavi, Namibia. The pool is 18 m by 2.5 m in area, and 30 to 52 m deep (Proudlove 2006).
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Subterranean waters of the Aigamas cave system. Rocky substrates. Water temperature is around 25°C and the species appears to live over shelves of shallow water up to 15 m in depth (Proudlove 2006).
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Depletion of ground water; the cave lake has been used as a water supply in an otherwise very dry area (Proudlove 2006). Pumping of water has reduced the depth of the lake from 70 m to 50 m since 1921 (Skelton 1990, Bruton 1995). Potentially exploitation from aquarists.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Control of water extraction. Collections of fishes regulated by permits.

Citation: Bills, R. 2007. Clarias cavernicola. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 29 March 2015.
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