Lucifuga dentata

Common Name

Toothed Cave Brotula

Year Described

Poey, 1858


Dorsal Fin: 82-102
Anal Fin: 66-80
Pectoral Fin: 15-17
Caudal Fin: 8
Vertebrae: 46-48 (11-12 precaudal)
Gill Rakers: 15-22

Body robust and elongate with an abruptly flattened (concave in profile) head above the mouth. Eye not visible to tiny (0-0.2% SL). Anterior nostril a tube on snout. Posterior nostril a hole closer to eye. Supraorbital pores 4, infraorbital pores 6, mandibular pores 6, preopercular pores 2. Mouth large with an expanded maxilla posteriorly. Teeth present on premaxilla, vomer, and dentary in several rows. Palatine teeth present. Pseudobranchial filaments present. Dorsal fin origin over pectoral fins. Anal fin origin well behind dorsal origin. Dorsal and anal fin not connected to tail. Pectoral fin inserted on midbody. Pelvic fin a single filamentous ray. Body and head posterior to the orbit scaled. Occiput unscaled or weakly scaled. Lateral line with 12-18 dorsal neuromasts and 22-33 lateral neuromasts.


Uniformly brownish to pale whitish. Gill filaments pale.


Specimens range from 45-124mm SL.


Found only in subterranean cave systems. Found mostly in freshwater parts of the caves.


Cuba: widespread in central to western regions from southern Matanzas to southern Pinar del Rio Provinces.


García-Machado, E., Hernández, D., García-Debrás, A., Chevalier-Monteagudo, P., Metcalfe, C., Bernatchez, L., & D. Casane. 2011. Molecular phylogeny and phylogeography of the Cuban cave-fishes of the genus Lucifuga: evidence for cryptic allopatric diversity. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 61(2), 470-483.

Hernández, D., Møller, P. R., Casane, D., & E. García-Machado. 2020. A new species of the cave-fish genus Lucifuga (Ophidiiformes, Bythitidae), from eastern Cuba. ZooKeys, 946, 17.

Nielsen, J.G. 2006. Revision of the Bahamian cave-fishes of the genus Lucifuga (Ophidiiformes, Bythitidae), with description of a new species from islands on the Little Bahama Bank. Zootaxa, 1223, 23-46.

Other Notes

García-Machado et al. (2011) showed three clades of Lucifuga in Cuba, with the L. dentata clade being the most diverse and containing L. dentata, L. simile, and two other lineages that are likely undescribed. The sister lineage to L. dentata is one of the undescribed species (L. sp.1) and is found only in the Matanzas region of Cuba. This clade seems to have palatine teeth while the L. subterranea clade lacks palatine teeth.