The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 56 Number 2: 54-63 - December 1994

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Biological Investigations in Lechuguilla Cave
Diana E. Northup, Deborah L. Carr, M. Tad Crocker, Kimberley I. Cunningham, Lauraine K. Hawkins, Patricia Leonard, and W. Calvin Welbourn


A biological inventory of Lechuguilla Cave, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Eddy County, New Mexico was conducted from July 1989 through December 1991. Various studies concentrated on the identification of invertebrates, fungi, and bacteria inhabiting the Entrance Pit and the Dark Zone of the cave. Invertebrates found in the Entrance Pit included a variety of accidental species (beetles, flies, ants, and grasshoppers) and several trogloxenic, troglophilic, and troglobitic species (camel crickets, rhadine beetles, mites, collembolans, and millipedes). A number of spider species were found, many of which are probably residents. Dark Zone invertebrates were limited to two species of camel crickets, and one species each of rhadine beetle, collumbolan, dipuran, mite, and centipede. Thirty-seven different species of fungi in 13 different genera were cultured from a variety of habitats in the cave. Preliminary bacterial investigations identified 10 different bacteria from pools and corrosion residues.

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