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Content tagged with "cave wildlife"

Photo of an Indiana myotis hanging from a cave ceiling.

Indiana Myotis (Indiana Bat)

The Indiana myotis, or Indiana bat, summers along streams and rivers in north Missouri, raising its young under the bark of certain trees. It is an endangered species.

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Photo of a little brown myotis hanging from cave wall with lesions on its wrist.

Little Brown Myotis (Little Brown Bat)

Little brown myotises hibernate in winter limestone caves and mines, mostly in the Ozarks. In spring they disperse up to 620 miles. In spring and summer, females live in nursery colonies in cliff crevices and hollow trees, under loose bark, in attics, and other undisturbed retreats. Males are solitary or live in colonies up to 20 in similar protected sites, including under siding and shingles.

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Photo of a little brown myotis hanging from cave wall with lesions on its wrist.

Little Brown Myotis (Little Brown Bat)

Myotis lucifugus
The little brown myotis (little brown bat) is one of our most common bats, but populations are declining. White-nose syndrome has taken a heavy toll in northeastern states. This species is now listed as vulnerable across its range.

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Missouri Bats

This content is archived
This 2000 Missouri Conservationist article covers the natural history of Missouri's bat and the Department's efforts to conserve them.

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Missouri Cave Life

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A dark, bleak habitat gives rise to some peculiar inhabitants.

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Image of an Ozark cavefish

Ozark Cavefish

Amblyopsis rosae
This small, colorless, blind fish lives its entire life in springs, cave streams and underground waters. It has been declared Endangered in our state and as Threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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Photo of a pink planarian on a grayish rock, head at bottom of picture.

Pink Planarian

Pink planarians live in Devil’s Icebox Cave at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park in Boone County. The water in that cave system comes from a surrounding landscape of about 13 square miles. That landscape includes farmland, homes, businesses, highways, and roads, and the potential of a devastating pollution event is rather high.

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Photo of a pink planarian with a ruler showing its length is about 2 cm.

Pink Planarian

Biologists take regular censuses of pink planaria and other organisms within the Devil’s Icebox Cave. Changes in the populations of these indicator species usually indicate a change in the environment. When populations of planaria decline, it usually signifies a reduction in environmental quality. Because the planarian is a predator, sometimes its populations drop when the populations of its prey (isopods and amphipods) drop — again, usually as a result of pollution.

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Photo of a pink planarian on a rock.

Pink Planarian

Wondering about the pink planarian’s anatomy? The rectangular end (at upper left) is the head, and the whitish part at that end is the brain. The whitish spot in the center of the body is the feeding apparatus: The planarian curls around an amphipod or isopod and sucks the juices out of it. The fringelike pinkish structures that run the length of the body, just inside the translucent edges, are the sexual glands (ovaries and testes) of this hermaphroditic animal.

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Photo of a pink planarian curled on a black rock.

Pink Planarian

Pink planarians adhere to the bottoms of rocks under water. If the spaces between the rocks become clogged with dirt, their habitat is harmed. Excessive silt can come from a variety of sources within the 13 square miles of land that drains an average of 709,000 gallons daily through the cave. Protecting the pink planarian now means that people will be able to study them in the future.

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