Plant Food in Caves

Cavernicolous cockroaches that depend on plant litter transported by water (Roth and McGavin, 1994; Weinstein, 1994) are attracted to traps baited with wet leaves (Slaney and Weinstein, 1996). While sinking streams may be continual, low-level sources of flotsam, seasonal flood debris supplies the bulk of the plant litter in most tropical caves (Howarth, 1983; Gnaspini and Trajano, 2000). In Australia, some caves may receive an influx of water and associated organic matter only once every 5 yr (Humphreys, 1993). Seeds defecated by frugivorous bats and the seeds of palm and other plants regurgitated by oilbirds commonly sprout in guano beds (Darlington, 1995b). The "forests of etiolated seedlings" (Poulson and Lavoie, 2000) that emerge may serve as food to cave cockroaches, but this is unconfirmed. Periplaneta, Blaberus, and other genera that feed on the guano of frugivorous bats also take advantage of fruit pieces dropped onto the floor (e.g., Gautier, 1974a). Fruit bats in Trinidad bring the fruit back to the caves, eat part of it, and then drop the remainder (Brossut, 1983, p. 150).

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment