Widemouth blindcat

The widemouth blindcat, Satan eurystomus is a species of catfish (order Siluriformes) of the family Ictaluridae.

The widemouth blindcat's closest relative is the flathead catfish, Pylodictis olivaris.

It was first discovered inhabiting a well, and is adapted for a lightless underground environment. This species is distributed in five artesian wells penetrating the San Antonio Pool of the Edwards Aquifer in and near San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, in the USA. These fish have been found with crustacean exoskeletons in their stomachs and may be the top carnivore in its habitat.

The widemouth blindcat lacks pigmentation and has no externally visible eyes. The eye remnants are extremely reduced in size with very little or no trace of a retina, lens; the optic tract is present but always regresses before reaching the brain. The swim bladder in these fish is reduced. The skull of this species is mostly cartilaginous and not well-ossified, unlike the adults of most larger ictalurids. The lateral line is fragmentary and never reaches past the anterior part of the anal fin. This species also has a few paedomorphic traits (indicated by small size, kidney morphology, and weak ossification of the skeleton). This species grows to about 13.7 centimetres (5.4 in) TL.

The widemouth blindcat is a vulnerable species. It is threatened due to groundwater pollution.


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