Beneath the earth’s surface, spiders crawl down moist rocky walls next to sleeping bats suspended from the ceiling. Florida has several hundred terrestrial caves – many still unmapped. Cave and karst systems are some of the most fragile and threatened ecosystems in the world. Currently, 31 cave-dwelling species are among the list of Florida’s Species of Greatest Conservation Need.
FWRI researchers are exploring Florida’s caves to survey these vulnerable species and potentially new creatures yet to be discovered. These inventories help scientists better understand distributional patterns and evolutionary relationships in these habitats.