The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 53 Number 2: 98-103 - December 1991

A publication of the National Speleological Society

The Effects of Substrate Moisture on Survival of Adult Cave Bettles (Neaphaenops tellkampfi) and Cave Cricket Eggs (Hadenoecus subterraneus) in a Sandy Deep Cave Site
David M. Griffith


The effect of slight fluctuations in substrate moisture potential on the distribution and abundance of adult carabide cave bettles, adult and nymphal cave crickets, and cave cricket eggs was investigated in a sandy, deep cave site in Great Onyx Cave, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky. The distribution and abundance of adult cave beetles and cave cricket eggs were correlated with field assays of substrate moisture potential on three different spatial scales, and field enclosure experiments demonstrated the strong effects of substrate moisture on the survival of cricket eggs and adult beetles. These results suggest that abiotic variations may be more important than implied under the "constant cave environment" paradigm.

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