Cave dwellers unexpectedly living in urban park

March 08, 2011 | Author: AAAS MemberCentral Project Director and Managing Editor Peggy Mihelich

American University biologist David Culver studies animals that live in caves -- amphipods, snails, bats and salamanders to name just a few. These animals are highly adapted to living in their unique environment -- an environment typically void of light. Morphologically many cave animals are blind and have no pigment, appearing translucent. Much to Culver's surprise, tiny amphipods (small shrimp-like freshwater crustaceans) also live in seepage springs or "wet spots" of Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. How these cave dwellers got there and how they manage to survive is a puzzle he's trying to figure out.