Astyanax mexicanus is a teleost with eyed surface-dwelling and eyeless cave-dwelling forms. Eye formation is initiated in cave fish embryos, but the eye subsequently arrests and degenerates. The surface fish lens stimulates growth and development after transplantation into the cave fish optic cup, restoring optic tissues lost during cave fish evolution. Conversely, eye growth and development are retarded following transplantation of a surface fish lens into a cave fish optic cup or lens extirpation. These results show that evolutionary changes in an inductive signal from the lens are involved in cave fish eye degeneration.