Thursday, September 12, 2013
8 Quirky Species Discovered in Lava-Tube Caves
by Laura Poppick
Eight new arthropod species and a new hibernating site for Townsend’s big-eared bats have been discovered in New Mexico lava-tube caves, adding to the limited ecologic understanding of this unique habitat type.
Lava-tube caves form when underground offshoots of lava flows spill downslope but cool around the edges, emptying hollow, arterylike cavities that can span many miles long. More than 200 such caves extend beneath El Malpais National Monument in western New Mexico and sometimes support ecosystems distinct from more commonly known limestone caves, which can develop different shapes and air current patterns…
(read more: LiveScience)