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Jonathan Bird's Blue World: The Blind Cavefish

Deep underground, in submerged caves, there is no light. Because there is no light, there is almost nothing for animals to eat. Yet life survives here. The t...


Why do cavefish lose their eyes? - ScienceBlogs (blog)

I thought I’d already addressed this in a blog post long ago, but I searched, and I didn’t — it was my inaugural column in sadly defunct Seed magazine, way back in the paleolithic, I think. Fortunately, I still have the copy I sent in to the editor, so I resurrect it here.


Degeneration and development
It’s not disuse that leads to loss of organs in evolution, but competitive genetic interactions

Reduced or degenerate organs, such as the evolution of flightless birds or eyeless cave dwelling animals, were a problem that Charles Darwin considered; his answer was that disuse would lead to their progressive reduction over time (we do not believe this is correct any more). Darwin’s confusion is shared by many even today, and Stephen Jay Gould, in his magnum opus, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory , listed three things that his readers found most confusing, as measured by the correspondence he received:

“I can testify that three items top the list of puzzlement: (1) evolution seen as anagenesis rather than branching (“if humans evolved from apes, why are apes still around”); (2) panselectionism (“what is the adaptive significance of male nipples”); and (3) Lamarckism and the failure of natural selection (“doesn’t the blindness of cave fishes imply a necessary space for Lamarckian evolution by disuse”).”

While all three are interesting questions, let’s consider just the third, which Darwin failed to answer. Why should animals living in total darkness lose their eyes? Gould described two good answers in his book, but recent work by W.R. Jeffery and his colleagues on the Mexican blind cavefish has supported a third. It’s an answer that highlights the importance of developmental biology in explaining some evolutionary phenomena…and it’s also an excellent way to introduce this new column, in which I’ll regularly be discussing the evo-devo way of thinking.

One possible answer is that it... Source: scienceblogs.com



Mexican Blind Cave Fish

Mexican Blind Cave Fish
Image by forum.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk

Blind Cave Fish

Blind Cave Fish
Image by www.fishoutlet.com.au

blind cave fish

blind cave fish
Image by lilt.ilstu.edu



Latest News

  • Why do cavefish lose their eyes?

    08/18/14 ,via ScienceBlogs (blog)

    Gould described two good answers in his book, but recent work by W.R. Jeffery and his colleagues on the Mexican blind cavefish has supported a third. It's an answer that highlights the importance of developmental biology in explaining some evolutionary 

  • Rare albino cave fish caught on camera in the Pilbara for new native species guide

    09/15/14 ,via ABC Online

    A rare albino cave fish has been captured on film in the Western Australian coastal town of Exmouth. Though it's no more than 60 millimetres long, the blind gudgeon has been looming large in the minds of a research team trying to track the fish down.

  • Lesser prairie chickens, sea turtles and blind salamanders — here to stay ...

    09/10/14 ,via LubbockOnline.com (blog)

    “Endangered status would prevent the kind of the loopholes that the Fish and Wildlife Service built into the threatened status,” Erik Molvar, a Laramie, Wyoming-based wildlife biologist for WildEarth Guardians, told me in June. Opposition to a listing

  • What song would be your sports entrance music?

    09/12/14 ,via A.V. Club Milwaukee

    Like many entrance songs, it has the loosest of personal meanings: The O'Neal family crest is the Red Right Hand Of Ulster, and, like Cave sings, I have it “hidden in my coat” on a tattoo on my shoulder. But beyond that, the song's low, tiptoeing

  • Belize serves up surf and turf vacation of Maya Ruins and mind-boggling sea life

    08/22/14 ,via Vancouver Sun

    Evidence of human sacrifice in Maya times litters the floors of the Actun Tunichil Muknal caves, where the skeletons are welded in place by limestone sediment. Mayan pottery is also frozen in time there, with archeologists opting to leave most


Bing news feed

  • Rare albino cave fish caught on camera in the Pilbara for new native species guide

    09/15/14 ,via ABC Online

    A rare albino cave fish has been captured on film in the Western Australian coastal town of Exmouth. Though it's no more than 60 millimetres long, the blind gudgeon has been looming large in the minds of a research team trying to track the fish down.

  • Mexico’s Blind Cave Fish: Freshwater Species of the Week

    03/22/14 ,via National Geographic

    A blind cave fish and two surface fish from the same species (Astyanax mexicanus) search for food at the bottom of an aquarium. (Photograph by Richard Borowsky) If you don’t use it, you lose it—at least this appears to be the case for a blind cave fish ...

  • Blind cavefish are able to 'count'

    06/07/14 ,via BBC

    Blind cave-dwelling fish are able to discriminate between different quantities, scientists say. The fish, found beneath the deserts in Somalia, learned to identify the greater of two groups of sticks placed at opposite ends of a tank. Researchers say it is ...

  • Blind cave fish inspires sensing system for autonomous underwater vehicles

    12/12/12 ,via Gizmag

    Now, scientists from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and MIT have copied the lateral lines of the blind cave fish, in a man-made system designed to allow autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to navigate more accurately and efficiently.

  • Blind Cave Fish Can Tell Time

    09/06/11 ,via Live Science

    Zebra fish had circadian clocks that were very rhythmic, synchronizing with cycles of darkness and light. Unsurprisingly, the blind cave fish's behavior did not similarly keep in sync with the light. However, when a different rhythmic signal was used — a ...


Books

  • In the Womb We are Blind Cave Fish

    1969.
  • International Wildlife Encyclopedia: Brown bear - cheetah

    Marshall Cavendish. 2002. ISBN: 076147269X,9780761472698. 3168 pages.

    This twenty-two volume set presents the appearance and behavior of thousands of species of animals along with species population and prospects for survival in a arranged alphabetically and easy-to-read format.

  • Experiments on the Navigation of Blind Cave Fish, Astyanax Jordani

    1975. 80 pages.

Directory

Mexican tetra - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Mexican tetra or blind cave fish (Astyanax mexicanus) is a freshwater fish of the family Characidae of the order Characiformes. The type species of its genus, it ...

Blind Cave Fish - Astyanax fasciatus mexicanus

A profile of the aquarium fish known as the Blind Cave Fish- Astyanax fasciatus mexicanus

Amblyopsidae - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Amblyopsidae are a fish family commonly referred to as cavefish, blindfish, or swampfish. They are small freshwater fish found in the dark environments of swamps ...

Blind Cavefish Can Produce Sighted Offspring

It's a miracle! Blind cavefish, despite having adapted to their lightless environment for more than a million years, can produce sighted offspring in just a single ...

Blind Cave Tetra Astyanax fasciatus mexicanus aquarium ...

The Blind Cave Tetra is also known as the Mexican Tetra, Blind Cave Fish or the Silvery Tetra. They are a good beginner’s fish, as they can tolerate great variation ...


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