Journal of Cave and Karst Studies - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 64 Number 2: 140-144
- August 2002

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Aggregate Protection Against Dehydration in Adult Females of the Cave Cricket
Jay A. Yoder, Horton H. Hobbs, III, and Matthew C. Hazelton


The role of aggregation in water conservation in adult female cave crickets, Hadenoecus cumberlandicus, in Laurel Cave (Carter Co., KY) was investigated. Grouped crickets retained water more effectively (water loss rates were lower) as densities increased from 1, 5, 10 and 20 crickets per cluster. Dry air currents (flow rate 43 mL/min) that passed over an aggregation of 20 eliminated the group effect with regard to water loss, suggesting that the mechanism operates by raising the relative humidity inside the cluster. Rapid water loss rate characterizes the water balance profile and is reflected by high activation energies for water loss and low quantities of cuticular lipid. There was no evidence for water vapor uptake. Natural gains and losses are high in H. cumberlandicus, and this agrees with their preference for the deep cave environment. Conversely, water turnover is lower for another trogloxenic cricket, Ceuthophilus stygius, that is less cave-adapted.

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