Bulletin of the National Speleological Society - ISSN 0146-9517
Volume 23 Part 2: 71-74 - July 1961

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Eye and Pigment Regression of Cave Salamanders
A. Vandel


Proteus anguinus Laurenti was bred in tanks in the Subterranean Laboratory at Moulis, France. Upon hatching from eggs, the larvae are greyish, owing to numberous black chromatophores distributed over their bodies. The eyes are very evident and storngly pigmented. After two years, the animals become entirely white, and their eyes remain only as microscopic black points. Still later, opaque skin covers the eyes. The regresison of the eyes and pigmentation is thought to result from hypothyroidism which in turn is caused by lack of excitation of the pituitary gland by light.

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