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any one of various small fishes, measuring from 10 to 13 cm long, that dwell in caves and karstic cavities, forming part of cave fauna. Cave fishes include four species from three genera of the family Amblyopsidae of the order Cyprinodon-tiformes. These four species are found in North America, primarily in the Mississippi Basin. Other cave fishes include four species of three genera of the family Brotulidae of the order Perciformes. These cave-dwelling fishes are encountered on the Yucatan Peninsula, in Cuba, and on the Bahama Islands. The families Characidae and Cyprinidae, both of the order Cy-priniformes, each have one cave-dwelling species. The cave-dwelling characin dwells in Mexico, and the cave-dwelling cyprinid in Africa. Several families of the order Siluriformes, including the Ictaluridae, Amiuridae, and Clariidae, have a number of cave-dwelling species.
Cave fishes are either live-bearers or carry their roe in a gill chamber. Their eyes are partially or completely atrophied.