Nickel Preserve Ozark Cave Ecosystem

Caves and groundwater systems provide habitat to some of the world's most endangered animals.

This subterranean natural community is delineated by the caves in which it occurs. These caves are openings and passages caused by dissolution in limestone bedrock. Cave entrances may occur along elevated hill slopes or bluffs. Main cave passageways may contain a semi-permanent, low-gradient stream with a gravel, silt, or mud bed. Soil is absent within the cave. Bats occur in many caves, and their guano is the base of the food chain for many cave organisms. The federally threatened Ozark big-eared bat occurs in some caves in the region. Many invertebrates such as the Ozark cave amphipod (Stygobromus ozarkensis) and Hensley's cave isopod (Caecidotea steevesi) are known to occur in only one or a few caves. The Ozark cavefish likely occurs in at least one cave within the Conservation Area.

Nested Elements
  • Hensley's cave isopod, Caecidotea steevesii (G1) endemic
  • Ozark cavefish, Ambylopsis rosae (G2G3) endemic
  • Ozark cave amphipod, Stygobromus ozarkensis (G3G4) endemic
  • Grotto salamander, Typhlotriton spelaeus (G4) endemic
  • Ozark big-eared bat, Plecotus townsendii igens (G4T1) endemic
  • Dark-sided salamander, Eurycea longicauda melanopleura (G5T4) endemic
  • Graybelly salamander, Eurycea multiplicata griseogaster (G4T4)