Aright, a few months back we posted a short piece about the Dragon’s Breath Cave in northern Namibia.
If you missed that post, it was all about the largest underground lake in the world. It is called Dragon’s breath because the only way to enter it is through a daunting looking cave that every now and again releases a giant pillar of flames… and that is not true.
The name came from the fact that the humid air that rose from the cave’s entrance looked like a giant beast was lying in wait. And now, enough of the fantasies of Namibia.
In this special cave, is the only known location of the Clarias cavernicola. What is that? It is the Golden Cave Catfish. This species of air breathing catfish is extremely endangered, and it is thought that only around 200 to 400 of these unique fish are in existence.
Because of the lack of light in the underground cave, the catfish’s pigmentation remained untouched, giving it the pale goldish colour.
These little creatures are also not known to grow larger than 16.1 centimetres in length. They also have a layer of skin over their eyes, meaning they are effectively blind.
The fish live off detritus and invertebrates(i.e.decomposing plant and animal parts as well as faeces that can found in the water). Not much is known about their reproductive habits and all attempts at controlled breeding have failed.
So, these little guys are under severe threat, which is worsened by the fact that the water level of the lake is said to fluctuate every now and again. Affecting their habitat drastically.
Let’s hope these Golden Cave Catfish survive the trials of evolution and continue to add to the unique elements of our gorgeous country.
If you have any other information about these little Golden critters, share them with us in the comment section below.
Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.