Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Four Corners caves host new species

A newly-published fact sheet from the USGS reports that "Caves in northern Arizona and western New Mexico are being researched and inventoried by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and cooperating agencies. Southwestern caves have been little studied, and scientists are now finding that these lightless and nutrient-poor natural systems are home to life forms found nowhere else on Earth. This research has identified unique communities of arthropods (insects, arachnids, and crustaceans) that include 3 new genera, or groups of species, and at least 15 new species—some only known to exist in a single cave."

[right, exploration of a recently discovered cave in Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Arizona. This desert cave is unusual because it has numerous standing pools of water. Photograph courtesy of Jon Jasper, Bureau of Land Management, and Kyle Voyles, National Park Service.]

Thanks to Hobart at geology.com for spotting this.

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