Underwater Cave Survey in Quintana Roo Mexico Quintana Roo Speleological Survey


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Biospeleology: The Study of Cave Adapted Life

last updated 20 September, 2021

We have included a small portrait gallery of obligate cave species (Stygobites) that inhabit the anchialine caves of Quintana Roo. It is our hope that this gallery might assist you in identifying and appreciating a few of the residents of these caves. Should you be interested in a short narration on the history of Biospeleology in this region, click here.

  Bahalana mayana A small isopod, up to 10 mm in length, that favors a specific niche between the fresh and salt water zones (the halocline). This animal is found in the Esqueleto (Temple of Doom) cave, and occasionally in the siphon area of the Carwash cave.
Photo: J. Carpenter  
  Creaseriella anops A large isopod, up to 22 mm in length, which is a common resident to most caves of the area. This animal can be identified by its size and spirited swimming habits.
Photo: J. Carpenter  
  Stygiomysis cokei This species, up to 21 mm in length, is one of four Stygiomysis sp. that reside in the underwater caves of Quintana Roo. These animals do not swim within the water column - as do the rest of anchialine critters. Species of stygiomysids are "crawlers", preferring rocks, walls, and the ceiling of their stygian habitat. Cave divers often dislodge these animals from a cave ceiling with their exhaust bubbles, and misidentify the animal as Speleonectes tulumensis (Remipedia). Look for their square "head". 
Photo: J. Carpenter  
  Olgilbia pearsi aka. Typhliasina pearsi One of two vertebrate cave adapted species in the region. They are known to abandon popular cave diving routes for more secluded cave areas.
Drawing: M. Navarro-Mendoza  

  Conservation of Caves is Vital

Please do not attempt to collect biological or geological specimens within any cave. Sampling of cave life or materials must be supervised directly by a Speleologist who is familiar with the natural environment of the cave you are removing samples from. Your actions, if not directly supervised, will ultimately contribute to unnecessary damage to the cave and its life.

Follow this link if you are concerned about the growing problem of underwater cave incursions by Astyanax mexicanus and declining Troglobitic populations in Quintana Roo caves. 


Updates and corrections are welcome: chac<at>consolidated.net

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