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U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2009-3024

In cooperation with Northern Arizona University Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management

Southwest Caves Reveal New Forms of Life

By J. Judson Wynne and Charles Drost



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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. This exciting research is yielding information that will be used by resource managers to better understand and protect fragile and important Southwestern cave ecosystems.

Version 1.0

Posted April 16, 2009
Modified April 23, 2009

For additional information contact:
Jut Wynne or Charles Drost

Colorado Plateau Research Station

Southwest Biological Science Center

This report is also available in print from:

USGS Information Services, Box 25286,
Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225
telephone: 888 ASK-USGS; e-mail:

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); at least version 7 of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Wynne, J. Judson, and Drost, Charles, 2009, Southwest caves reveal new forms of life: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2009-3024, 2 p. [].

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