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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 rock.

Pink Planarian

The pink planarian (Macrocotyla glandulosa) is a species of turbellarian (free-living flatworm) found only in Devil’s Icebox Cave in Boone County, Missouri, and nowhere else in the world. It was first discovered in 1955. When biologists take surveys of pink planarian populations, they typically find only 1 or 2 dozen at a time—it’s not the entire population, but over time, these counts allow biologists to recognize population rises and declines.

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Photo of a pink planarian with posterior end somewhat curled.

Pink Planarian

Like many other cave-dwelling animals (troglobites), the pink planarian lacks the ability to sense light. No flatworm has true eyes, but light-sensitive eyespots allow the flatworm species that live outside of caves to avoid light and move to the dark. Planarians are one of the simplest groups of animals to have a brain and a nervous system.

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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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