The troglobitic (exclusively subterranean source population) catfish Ituglanis passensis (Siluriformes, Trichomycteridae) is endemic to the Passa Três Cave, São Domingos karst area, Rio Tocantins basin, Central Brazil. This unique population presents variably reduced eyes and melanic pigmentation. We describe reproduction and early development in this species based on a spontaneous (non-induced) reproductive-event that occurred in the laboratory in January–February, 2009, while simultaneously comparing with data from the cave-habitat and a previous reproductive event. Egg laying was parceled. Egg-size and number were within variations observed in epigean congeners. Larvae behavior and growth is described. A single surviving specimen was monitored over two years. Eye-regression started late, one year after birth, and followed a pattern of stasis phases intercalated with slow growth and fluctuating asymmetric rates. Late eye regression, associated with asymmetry in eye development and intra-population variability of troglomorphic traits, as shown by several Brazilian subterranean fishes, provide support for the Neutral Mutation Theory.
- Keywords: central Brazil, eye-regression, Ituglanis passensis, life-cycle, reproduction, Troglobitic fish