Northern Cavefish (Amblyopsis hoosieri)

Northern Cavefish Completely blind, this hardy fish thrives in the dark environment of caves. However, its range is restricted to about a dozen cave streams in southern Indiana and north- central Kentucky. Because of this restricted habitat, the Northern Cavefish is listed as a threatened species. The cavefish lacks pigmentation and its pinkish color is due to the hemoglobin in its blood.

The Northern Cavefish received a great deal of press when State Road 37 was widened to four lanes between Bedford and Mitchell, Indiana. Several fish were found in a passage opened by construction, and were released in nearby Bluespring Caverns. The alarm that went through the environmental community eventually resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding between the Indiana Dept of Transportation and several other state agencies to help ensure that future road work is performed in a more karst- friendly manner.

Photo courtesy Rick Olson / Mammoth Cave Natl Park