The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Forbesichthys agassizii
Forbesichthys agassizii
(Spring Cavefish)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Forbesichthys agassizii (Putnam, 1872)

Common name: Spring Cavefish

Synonyms and Other Names: Chologaster agassizi, Forbesella agassizi

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Pflieger (1975); Page and Burr (1991); Etnier and Starnes (1993). Another commonly used name is Chologaster agassizi (Nelson 1984; Robins et al. 1991a). The names Forbesella agassizi and Chologaster papilliferus have also been used in the literature (Weise 1957; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Page and Burr 1991). Forbesichthys agassizi is one of two species in this family with functional eyes (Nelson 1984).

Size: 8.4 cm

Native Range: Springs and caves from central and western Kentucky (west to the Tennessee River) to south central Tennessee; west across southern Illinois to southeastern Missouri (Page and Burr 1991).

Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Forbesichthys agassizii are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†

Table last updated 7/16/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Intentionally stocked from southern Illinois sites to establish a population near Quincy College. This population was intended to serve as a nearby source of fish for research (Weise 1957).

Status: The population apparently failed to reproduce and no longer exists. Weise (1957) suggested that the cavefish were swept downstream and taken by predators.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

Remarks: This species is listed as state endangered in Missouri. There are no known voucher specimens.

References: (click for full references)

Lee, D. S., C. R. Gilbert, C. H. Hocutt, R. E. Jenkins, D. E. McAllister, and J. R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980 et seq. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, NC. (Cited as a work rather than as individual accounts in the interest of space).

Nelson, J. S. 1994. Fishes of the world, 3rd edition. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.

Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. The Peterson Field Guide Series, volume 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

Weise, J. G. 1957. The spring cave-fish, Chologaster papilliferus, in Illinois. Ecology 38(2):195-204.

Other Resources:
Distribution in Illinois - ILNHS

FishBase Summary

Author: Fuller, P.

Revision Date: 3/5/2011

Peer Review Date: 3/5/2011

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., 2024, Forbesichthys agassizii (Putnam, 1872): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=304, Revision Date: 3/5/2011, Peer Review Date: 3/5/2011, Access Date: 7/16/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/16/2024].

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