“Troglobites, the Animals Below,” a Water/Ways Presentation

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Tom Morris is introduced by Smithsonian Program Director Kristina Young.

Our amazing planet, which we currently are so bent on destroying, harbors life in the most surprising places, and allows that life to adapt to conditions we would find intolerable.  Tom Morris gave us a glimpse last night, Aug. 9, 2016, into an aspect of our springs and rivers that is little known and rarely seen- troglobites.   Yes, we had to look it up:  “A troglobite is an animal that lives entirely in the dark parts of caves. (Not to be confused with troglodyte.”

The types one might find in our local sinkholes and springs are mostly a small white crayfish, blind and with no color.  There is one species, Procambarus erythrops, the Santa Fe cave crayfish, in the family Cambaridae,

Santa-Fe-Cave-crayfish

This species is only known from five localities, all situated north of the Santa Fe River, east of the Suwannee River, and west of Ichetucknee Springs, Suwannee County, Florida (Relyea and Sutton 1975). Several dozen sites have been examined north of the Santa Fe River, but no individuals of this species have been recorded (Franz and Lee 1982). This species has a distribution of approximately 277 km².

In addition to information on the creatures inhabiting underwater caves, Tom also gave an interesting background on our aquifer and sinkholes.

Check out the exhibit in the High Springs Museum, and see one of these rare creatures, alive an well.  Only to be there through Aug. 27.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life:  once taken, it cannot be brought back-

 

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