Hot hot heat and Summer Solstice Cricket Count

Belated spring report
May 6 workday:
A small but dedicated group of volunteers extracted many buckets of fill from Twisted Root Cave in order to increase its water recharge. It is no small task, but the lovely breeze coming from a crack in the floor helped keep everybody in good spirits. That's caves for you, cool in the spring/summer and warm in the winter.

June 17 workday:
Good progress was made on the cave restoration taking place at Twisted Root Cave, and our combination workday+ Summer Solstice Cricket Count was a big hit.
We had a total of 18 individual participants, with some taking part in both activities which had them spend 12 hours onsite.

Around sunset, teams of 2 to 3 volunteers equipped with red lights made their way to each of the 5 cave entrances the property now boasts. We were wondering if the crickets would be affected by all the hustle and bustle of the workday in Twisted Root, but they came out early and in droves! That cave alone had 600+ crickets of all ages - nymphs, subadults, adults- exit to forage on the surface before heading back into the depth where they bring much needed energy to our cave obligates in the form of frass (poop), eggs and other organic debris kicked in the cave during their daily migration.

Temple of Thor, Red Crevice and Nergal's Altar had decent cricket counts as well, which is encouraging. Field mice and cliff chirping frogs living in those caves joined the fray and some were seen hunting crickets. The luckiest group of volunteers even saw a cricket pounce on a struggling assassin bug and drag it into the cave for what I hope was a gory meal. Cave justice in action!

Unsurprisingly, Lakeline Mall Cave was pretty much a biological desert with only three roaches counted. Even the angry raccoon was a no-show this year.

All in all, the 2023 edition of the longest cave bio-monitoring effort in the US was a fine one. Despite the 106 degree temperature our volunteers had to endure in June, cricket numbers seem to indicate that our underground communities are in good health.

Publicado el septiembre 23, 2023 08:21 TARDE por eleonorelc eleonorelc


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