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Epigean and subterranean ichthyofauna from the São Domingos karst area, Upper Tocantins River basin, Central Brazil

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In a survey of epigean and cave streams in the São Domingos karst area, 38 species were present in the stream reaches, including 10 characiforms, 19 siluriforms, seven gymnotiforms and two perciforms. One species of Astyanax and the new armoured catfish species Parotocinclus were the most common epigean fishes in São Domingos. The most conspicuous non-troglomorphic cave fishes were Hoplerythrinus unitaeniatus, Astyanax sp., Brycon sp. and two species of Imparfinis, with I. hollandi being the most common fish in most caves. São Domingos karst area has the most diverse and abundant Brazilian cavefish fauna, not only in terms of troglobitic species but also in general fish richness, with 22 non-troglomorphic species recorded in caves in addition to five troglobitic ones. Most fishes examined for stomach contents had at least partially full stomachs. The studied fishes were carnivorous, feeding primarily on aquatic insects. Fishes with developed gonads recorded in caves were I. hollandi, Rhamdia quelen, Pseudocetopsis plumbeus, Hoplerythrinus unitaeniatus and Cichlasoma araguaiensis, indicating a potential for reproduction in the subterranean habitat.
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Keywords: central Brazil; distribution; epigean ichthyofauna; feeding habits; subterranean ichthyofauna

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biociências da USP, Caixa Postal 11.461, 05422-970, São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Publication date: 2003-11-01

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