Our objectives were to (i) sample the deep zones of four of the largest caves in the Roiho Flow on Rapa Nui to search for troglomorphic arthropods and (ii) collect information (qualitative description of area and hourly temperature and relative humidity data) to characterize the deep zone habitat of all sampling locations.

In August 2011, we applied two techniques to studying the cave deep zones.  First, we conducted a direct intuitive search by inspecting the cave floor for 10 minutes per m2.  Floors and or walls were intensively searched, rocks were overturned and examined, and areas containing flood detritus and/ or guano were probed and searched.  Once completed, baits were placed directly on the ground or within cracks and fissures on cave walls, ceilings and floors. We used (1) camote (or sweet potato; Ipomoea batatas), (2) chicken and fish entrails, and (3) small diameter branches from locally occurring shrubs: hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) and Gaoho (Caes alpinia).  Two to three stations of each bait type were deployed within each deep zone of each cave sampled.  Baits were deployed for four to five days.  Several publications are currently being written based on the data collected from this project.

I extend my thanks to Ninoska Cuadros Hucke, Susana Nahoe, and Enrique Tucky (Parque Nacional Rapa Nui), Consejo de Monumentos (Rapa Nui), Sergio Rapu, and Cristian Tambley (CampoAlto Operaciones)for their assistance and logistical support of this research.  Mr. Jabier Les, Sociedad de Ciencias Espelogógicas Alfonso Antxia and Mr. Andrzej Ciszewski, Polish Expedition Team provided cave mapsfor the Rapa Nui work.  Christina Colpitts, Lynn Hicks, Bruce Higgins, Alicia Ika, Talina Konotchick, Scott Nicolay, Knutt Petersen, Lazero Pakarati, Vicky Pakarati Hotus, Peter Polsgrove, Dan Ruby, and Liz Ruther assisted with fieldwork. Andy and Bonny Armstrong, Jon Jasper, Shawn Thomas, and Kyle Voyles emergency stand-by status during this work.  Global Rescue was my emergency extrication provider.  The Explorers Club graciously recognized this project as Explorers Club Flag Expedition.  This project was funded by the Explorers Club Exploration Fund and the National Speleological Society International Exploration Grantsprogram.

Publications & Reports

Cotoras*, D.D., J.J. Wynne*, L. Flores & C. Villagra. 2017The spiders of Rapa Nui revisited. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 120: 117 (*contributed equally).

Taiti, S. J.J. Wynne. 2015. The terrestrial Isopoda (Crustacea, Oniscidea) of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), with descriptions of two new species. ZooKeys 515: 2749.

Bernard, E.C, F.N. Soto-Adames, & J.J. Wynne. 2015. Collembola of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) with descriptions of five endemic cave-restricted species. Zootaxa 3949: 239–267.

Wynne, J.J., E.C. Bernard, F.G. Howarth, S. Sommer, F.N. Soto-Adames, S. Taiti, E.L. Mockford, M. Horrocks, L. Pakarati, & V. Pakarati-Hotus. 2014. Disturbance relicts in a rapidly changing world: the Rapa Nui (Easter Island) factor. BioScience 64: 711–718.

Mockford, E.L. & J.J. Wynne. 2013. Genus Cyptophania Banks (Psocodea: Lepidopsocidae): Unique features, augmented description of the generotype, and descriptions of three new species. Zootaxa 3702: 437–449.

Wynne, J. J., L. Pakarati, and C. Tambley. 2012.  Artrópodos Carvernícolas en Zonas Profundas en Cavernas en Rapa Nui.  Final Report submitted to CONAF.  On file at Parque Nacional Rapa Nui, Easter Island, Chile, 11 pps.

Wynne, J. J., L. Pakarati, C. Tambley and F. G. Howarth. 2012.  Cavernicolous Arthropods of Cave Deep Zones, Rapa Nui. Explorers Club Flag Report (Flag # 139), Submitted: 10 January 2012, On file at The Explorers Club, New York, NY.

Professional Presentations

8th International Conference on Easter Island and the Pacific, Santa Rosa, CA.  Presentation: Diversity and Community Structure of Cavernicolous Arthropods on Rapa Nui, 08-12 July 2011.

CONAF, Parque Nacional Rapa Nui, Easter Island (2011). Presentation: Implicaciones para la conservación y manejo de las Cuevas en Rapa Nui (presentación en Español).

Popular Press

KNAU Arizona Public Radio, Brain Food: Protecting Easter Island’s newly discovered cave-dwelling bugs (11.26.2015).

Inside NAU, The Television Show, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Jut Wynne discusses the importance of finding relict insect species in Easter Island caves. (05.07.2014). 

El Mercurio de Santiago, Chile, A9, Hallan ocho nuevas especies de insectos en cuevas de Isla de Pascua (07.18.2014). National Newspaper.

El Mercurio de Santiago, Chile, A14, Especie endémica acaba de ser bautizada en honor de padre de familia pascuense (10.10.2013). National Newspaper.