RE: NANFA-- Ophisternon infernale the blind swamp eel

Jay DeLong (
Fri, 12 Nov 1999 21:01:18 -0800

Here are some web tidbits on human effects on these Yucatan cave fishes.
They're from "Conservation of the North American Cave and Karst Biota" (An
electronic preprint from Elsevier Science’s Subterranean Biota (Ecosystems
of the World series)) at

Jay DeLong

Karstic groundwater is the major water source in the Yucatán Peninsula, and
had a major influence on the Maya culture. In Mérida some wastewater is
disposed of via deep-well injection, but its fate has not been traced. Pig
farms and cattle ranches are another potential source of pollution, and use
of fertilizers and pesticides threatens the local water supply in some
areas. Solid waste is often dumped at the edges of towns or discarded into
dry caves. Cenote Dzitya, near Mérida, was contaminated by a nearby pig
farm, according to water chemistry and algal data.

A pig farm (Agropecuaria Yucatán) was constructed above Cueva de El Pochote,
which contained a unique cave fauna, including Ogilbia pearsei, Ophisternon
infernale, Creaseria morleyi, Creaseriella anops, and Typhlatya pearsei.
Cenotes provide important habitat for stygobionts and other species, such as
the threatened Morelet’s crocodile, and provide drinking water for
endangered mammals such as the jaguar. No studies of pollution effects on
cave species of this region have been published to date.

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