Erstmals in Europa: Höhlenfisch am Bodensee entdeckt

So sehen Höhlenfische in anderen Teilen der Welt aus

In late summer of 2015, biologist Dr. Kirk Zigler was up to his knees in the bone-cold water of a Northwest Georgia cave when he encountered a creature as bizarre as it was completely unexpected. For months, Zigler and one of his students at Sewanee: The University of the South had been surveying the species living in the region's vast network of caves. They were looking for everything from spiders to salamanders to beetles, but the last thing Zigler expected to see swimming past his boots in Catoosa County's Crane Cave was a Southern #Cavefish (Typhlichthys subterraneus). Less than three inches long, the Southern Cavefish lacks eyes, and its internal organs and blood vessels peek like crimson ghosts through its milky-white, translucent body. Instead of sight, the Southern Cavefish navigates its environment using fluid-filled pores and canals along its body that react to vibrations in the water. Scientists have documented Southern Cavefish throughout the Cumberland Plateau and in the Ozarks of Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas, but they had never been seen in the Valley and Ridge Province, a geologic range stretching from Northwest Georgia, Northeast Alabama and Southeast Tennessee along the Appalachian Mountains to upstate New York. Seeing one beneath the rolling hills of Catoosa County was the biological equivalent of a UFO sighting. "We were just completely shocked to find them in that strange place," Zigler said. Zigler reached out to Dr. Bernie Kuhajda, an aquatic conservation biologist at the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute. Kuhajda has studied various species of cavefish since the early 1990s. Together, the two planned a return trip to Crane Cave to try and recover the mysterious fish and definitively identify it. ?Read more about this exciting discovery in our profile link!

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Tennessee Aquarium (@tennesseeaquarium) am

Anpassung an Höhlen geschieht in einem vergleichsweise geringen Zeitraum

Die Forscher ziehen aus der Entdeckung deshalb folgende Schlüsse: Wenige tausend Jahre genügen, damit sich eine Fisch-Art an das Leben in der Höhle anpassen kann. Zudem lässt sich aus der Entdeckung schließen, dass Höhlenfische nahezu überall auf der Welt leben könnten. Und drittens zeige der Fund, dass selbst in einer Region wie Süddeutschland, wo man davon ausgeht, dass die ganze Bandbreite der Biodiversität längst bekannt ist, immernoch neue Funde gemacht werden können.

Video: So sieht der neu entdeckte Höhlenfisch aus