13 October 2008

A New Yorker and Cave Bugs

Originally drafted 12 October 2008

Today, we pulled traps at Zuni and Abyss Cave. Yesterday, we had planned to pull traps at Zuni Cave, but given the weather conditions, we were unable to do this. So, we had to pull traps at two caves today.

Inspecting an inverted Chrysler New Yorker.

En route to these caves, we came across an old 1970s New Yorker. It was upside down and appeared to have been largely stripped. We walked around it a bit and took some photos. It was rather interesting to encounter this abandoned vehicle in the middle of the monument.

One of many Rhadine beetles found in Zuni Cave. Credit: Kyle Voyles/ NPS.

This work went incredibly well today. We found numerous crickets and Rhadine beetles in Zuni Cave. We also found several spiders and Psocopterans.

Once done, at Zuni we hiked across the Malpais and arrived at Abyss Cave. This cave is a much colder cave than Zuni. When we were there deploying traps a few days prior, I didn’t think we were going to encounter many arthropods here.

A mummified bat, possibly a Townsend's big-eared bat, found in Zuni Cave.

We did see extensive bat activity throughout this cave. There was a light deposition of guano almost throughout the cave. Also, numerous moth wings and beetle parts littered the cave floor. We also encountered one Townshend’s Big Eared Bat that was apparently in a torpor.

As I expected, we didn’t find many invertebrates within this cave. We encountered mostly crickets and Rhadine beetles.

We then packed up all of our gear, and gravid with an additional 20 temperature/humidity sensors and ~60 traps, we headed back across the Malpais and back to the truck.

Mummified bat pups in Abyss Cave.

We had the luxury of arriving back to camp at a reasonable hour, where we uploaded the data from our data loggers and digital cameras, organized the collected specimens and data sheets, and made preparations for tomorrow.

Popcorn speleothems in Abyss Cave. Credit: Kyle Voyles/NPS.

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