Sewanee Field Adventure Part 5: Cool Caving (100th Post!!!)

The second Monday morning of the camp, the group went caving with the cave biology professor. We learned about the difference between troglobionts – organisms that spend their whole lives in caves, and troglophiles – organisms that move in and out of caves. We also learned that as you delve deeper into a cave, biodiversity decreases. The only way nutrients get into a cave to support troglobionts is in streams that run through the cave or through the dung of troglophiles. Troglophiles and nutrients in a stream do not travel very far back into the cave, so the biodiversity of troglobionts drops significantly. I saw some species that I would not otherwise have the opportunity to see!

Trees (2 species, 0 lifers):

American Hornbeam

Tag Alder

Wildflowers (1 species, 0 lifers):

Asiatic Dayflower

Butterflies (1 species, 1 lifer):

*American Snout

Reptiles (1 species, 0 lifers):

Eastern Garter Snake

Amphibians (2 species, 2 lifers):

*Slimy Salamander

*Cave Salamander

Dragonflies (1 species, 1 lifer):

*Widow Skimmer

Arachnids (1 taxa, 1 lifer):

*Cave Orb Weaver

Other Insects (1 taxa, 1 lifer):


Exotic Invasives (2 species, 1 lifer):




Eastern Garter Snake


Cave Salamander


Cave Cricket


Cave Orb Weaver




Slimy Salamander