I heard rumors about the blind fish

Posted by | July 25, 2007

Claude W. Hibbard was the first naturalist at Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park (June 1, 1934 to August 22, 1935). His job was to evaluate the area and record the types of wildlife he found in this region. Hibbard was to look at various habitats in this region and evaluate them to help determine what should be included in the new national park.

Journal Entry- Area 2
July 25, 1934

The first day that I arrived at the park, May 31, I heard rumors about the blind fish, especially that no authentic record was known of blind fish from Mammoth Cave and the Park area; though all roadside stands have blind fish to sell. At present the owners of the stands are paying local men and boys $1. per inch for blind fish and selling them for $2.50 to $5.00 apiece. While working at Stockholm I came in contact with Mr. W. E. Constant who had always lived in this region and had collected arrowheads, other Indian material, and digging up graves for Indian bones, and collecting blind fish to sell to tourists visiting this region.
Typhlicthes subterraneus, or blind fish
He told me of two places that blind fish occured [sic] in the Park area where they were collected and sold as coming from Old Mammoth Cave in Echo River; one was Cedar Sink, and the other was Sanders’ Spring on the north side of Green River just north of Sander’s Ferry crossing. Sanders [sic] Spring was visited the forenoon of July 25, by Clumbo Hyde an assistant C.C.C. enrollee, Mr. Constant and myself. Here a permanent spring runs through a small cave at the entrance one may stand erect, but following the stream one must soon crawl. Blind crayfish are common throughout the stream.

Blind fish were observed the ¾ of a mile traveled after we were in the cave, beyond the influence of light. They were hard to observe. If one wades in the stream they will take refuge under rocks when vibration is set up in the water. When a pool could be approached freely about. Only Typhlechthys subterraneus (Girard) [blind cave fish were found and collected. They are white in color with the blood of the gills and heart showing through, giving it the effect of a pink color. They are both beautiful and graceful in their movements in clear streams.

Pipistrellas subflavus, or Eastern Pipistrelle batThe temperature of the water was 56° F. Along the entire stream bed were tracks of coon and evidence of their feeding upon the crayfish in the stream. In the entrance of the cave. Rana patustris [pickerel frog, spring frog] was common and adult Plethodon glutinosus [slimy salamander] and Eurycea longicauda [long-tailed salamander] were taken. Pipistrellus subflavus [bat– Eastern Pipistrelle] were observed in the opening leading to the left upon entering the cave. They were hanging singly from the low ceiling. Over three hours were spent in the cave.

Source: http://www.nps.gov/archive/maca/learnhome/cur_45_fin.htm

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Claude+W.+Hibbard Mammoth+Cave+National+Park blind+fish appalachia appalachian+culture appalachian+history history+of+appalachia

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