Arizona — Research on cave-dwelling arthropods in Arizona is limited to Kartcher Caverns in southern Arizona and around 30 limestone caves, lava tubes and earth cracks in the northern half of the state. Of these subterranean features, nine troglobites, two stygobites and ~14 trogloxenes have been indentified.

Kartchner Caverns has been intensively inventoried and monitored, while most of the work in northern Arizona is limited to opportunistic collecting of arthropods. Approximately 38 cave-dwelling arthropods have been identified including four troglobites, one trogloxene, 19 troglophiles, one guanophile, one obligate parasite and 12 accidentals. These include nematodes, micro-whipscorpions, spiders, mites, pseudoscorpions, centipedes, isopods, silverfish, springtails, crickets, booklice, true bugs, beetles, moths, flies, and ants.

In the mid-1980s an endemic pseudoscorpion (Archeolarca welbourni) was discovered from three earth cracks at Wupatki National Monument, northeast of Flagstaff. Another study in the Flagstaff area of four lava tube caves revealed three species including one cricket, one beetle and one fly.

A review of cave invertebrate work in Grand Canyon National Park summarized invertebrates inventoried from 15 caves from 1975 — 2001. At least 47 cave-dwelling arthropods including amphipods, millipedes, spiders, mites, springtails, crickets, stoneflies, 

booklice, beetles, ants, caddisflies, moths, and flies were identified. Of these, there were three troglobites, seven trogloxenes, 16 troglophiles, and one stygobite. To read this paper, go to Cave-dwelling Invertebrate Fauna of Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

New Mexico —There are 12 troglobites and approximately 15 trogloxenes documented from New Mexican caves. In Eddy County, two troglobites, two trogloxenes, 14 troglophiles, one accidental, one special case and 48 unknown cavernicoles were identified from six caves. The large number of “unknown cavernicoles” was because arthropods were not placed into cavernicole groups. This six cave study found two worm species, spiders, harvestmen, mites, centipedes, millipedes, springtails, crickets, booklice, beetles, fleas and flies.

In 1967, an extensive summary for cave-dwelling arthropods from Carlsbad Caverns was published. When the paper went to press, four troglobites, nine trogloxenes, 30 troglophiles, two accidentals, seven special case species and 20 unknown cavernicoles were known to occur at Carlsbad. This faunal assemblage consisted of copepods, scorpions, spiders, mites, centipedes, millipedes, springtails, crickets, booklice, beetles, moths, fleas and flies.

Research conducted at six lava tube caves in El Malpais National Monument during the mid-1990s resulted in the identification of 62 invertebrate species. This included six troglobites, three trogloxenes, 10 troglophiles, two guanophiles and 41 accidental species. Segmented worms, snails, spiders, mites, centipedes, millipedes, springtails, jumping bristle tails, crickets, aphids, thrips, booklice, beetles, moths, and fleas were among the animals identified in this assemblage.

Utah — Three troglobites and one stygobite have been identified from research of eight caves. In the Uinta Mountains, 38 invertebrate species have been identified from seven caves. This includes segmented worms, amphipods, spiders, mites, centipedes, millipedes, springtails, diplurans, beetles, moths, fleas, and flies. These invertebrates were further subdivided into cavernicole groupings and consisted of at least two troglobites, one stygobite, 16 trogloxenes, 13 troglophiles, four accidentals and one ectoparasite.

Other studies in Utah include a survey of Crystal Ball Cave in Millard County (where one beetle species Aphodius distinctus, Family Scarabaeidae, was recorded). An arthropod inventory of Timpanogos Cave National Monument in 2005. However, the results are not yet available.

Colorado — Five stygobitic species are known to occur in Colorado. From an opportunistic survey of six caves in El Paso, Fremont, Garfield and Rio Blanco Counties, amphipods, one spider, pseudoscorpions, one millipede, and springtails were identified. Of these, a new genus and species of millipede, Blancosoma scaturgo was described. Five species of subterranean amphipod (Stygobromus sp.) were identified from 35 subterranean spring access points throughout Colorado. While this was not a true cave survey because researchers were not working underground, the amphipods identified were adapted to life underground and in complete darkness.

Nevada — There are three troglobites and two stygobites known from subterranean research in Nevada. Most of the cave invertebrate research conducted in the state occurred within Great Basin National Park. Initially, a cave-adapted pseudoscorpion and harvestman were there only troglobites known from the park. The pseudoscorpion was known to occur within two caves, while the harvestman occurred within at least one cave. A cave-adapted dipluran was described from a cave in Lincoln County. The two stygobitic amphipods were identified from groundwater samples in Douglas and Washoe Counties (thus, do not represent actual cave investigations). In 2003, copepods, spiders, mites, pseudoscorpions, harvestmen, centipedes, millipedes, springtails, true bugs, stoneflies, flies, wasps, ants, moths, beetles, fleas and booklice were recently identified from a study of eight caves in Great Basin National Park.

Jut will revise this page as more information on southwest cave-dwelling arthropods becomes available. If you have information to contribute on this topic, please contact him.