blind fish

Astyanax (fish)

Astyanax is a genus of freshwater fish in the characid family (family Characidae) of the order Characiformes. Some of these fish, like many of their relatives, are kept as aquarium pets and known collectively as tetras. With roughly 100 described Astyanax species and new ones being described every few months, this genus is among the largest of the entire order: Hyphessobrycon has about the same number, and which one is larger at any one time depends on whether more species have been recently described in one or the other.

The blind cave fish, a form of A. mexicanus, is a famous member of this genus. A. jordani, a different but closely related blind fish, was formerly considered to form its own genus, Anoptichthys.

The type species is A. mexicanus, the Mexican tetra. The generic name comes from Astyanax, a character in Greek mythology who was the son of Hector of Troy; in homage to this, several specific names also refer to the Iliad.

Taxonomy and systematics

This genus is more or less defined as in 1917 by Carl H. Eigenmann. The lack of comprehensive phylogenetic analyses dealing with this genus is hindering a thorough review, and the relationships remain as indeterminate as the monophyly is doubtful.

Selected species

Footnotes

References

  • (2006): Astyanax species Version of 2006-MAR-14. Retrieved 2008-JAN-29.
  • (2003): New characid fish, Hyphessobrycon scutulatus, from the rio Teles Pires drainage, upper rio Tapajós system (Ostariophysi: Characiformes: Characidae). Neotropical Ichthyology 1(2): 93-96. PDF fulltext
  • (2006): Fishes of the World. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 0471250317

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