Friday, April 1, 2011

Notes from the Field: Dante in China, part 1

Dr. Danté Fenolio, the Garden's amphibian conservation scientist and author, is underground in South China and Northwest Thailand shooting photographs of some of the rarest cave fauna known to science for his new biodiversity book. He is updating us regularly, including sending updates and pictures for the blog when he emerges between caves.

This is Sinocyclocheilus tileihornes

"I am working in Asia to photograph the cave life of South China and Northwest Thailand. This all goes toward finishing a grant funded biodiversity book that I have been working on. I hope to provide blog updates throughout this 3 week long trip.


The Asiatic genus of fish, Sinocyclocheilus, has a number of species that have become cave adapted to varying degrees. They have to be among the strangest of freshwater fish that I have ever seen. Several of the unique characters to some of the cave adapted species are horn like structures on their heads or massive bumped foreheads. Another character is a flattened, spoon-like snout and mouth. Here are some more examples of cave adapted Sinocyclocheilus:

This is Sinocyclocheilus furcodorsalis 
This is 
Sinocyclocheilus 
anopthalmus
 

I'd like to thank The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dr. Yahui Zhao, Dr. Chunguang Zhang, Dr. Fanwei Meng, Xuanchang Tong and Jim Stout for helping to organize this amazing trip, for allowing me to photograph fish in the lab, and for their valuable time in the field." — Dante