Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Video: Valentine's Cave Dipluran (Litocampa valentinei)

This is my first attempt at publishing a video of subterranean life on my YouTube channel. The video was shot using an Olympus TG-1iHS 12 MP Waterproof Digital Camera under low-light conditions. The quality isn't great but it is not terrible either. I will work toward producing higher quality videos in the future.

The video features a cave dipluran crawling along a rock boulder in the dark zone of Hering Cave, Madison Co., Alabama. Diplurans are primitive wingless relatives of insects belonging to the class Hexapoda. They have three pairs of walking legs along with two long antennae extending from the head and two long cerci extending from the posterior end of the abdomen. Diplurans use their antennae and cerci in concert to sense their environment. In addition to lacking wings,  diplurans also lack eyes.

Diplurans are common in caves throughout the Interior Plateau, Appalachians and Ozark Highlands of eastern North America where they are most often observed on damp substrates near a water source, such as along mud banks of cave streams. The species in the video is Valentine's Cave Dipluran (Litocampa valentinei), which occurs in caves of northeastern Alabama and south-central Tennessee along the Cumberland Plateau.

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