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Roaring River Cave – Westmoreland

A report on the current biological conditions at Roaring River Cave as observed during an assessment carried out by members1 of the Jamaican Caves Organisation (JCO) for the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDco) on January 26, 2006.

1 Ivor C. Conolley (Vice-chair JCO), Elizabeth Slack (Peace Corps, JCO)


Report prepared by RS Stewart (Chair JCO)



Summary:

Roaring River Cave, in Westmoreland, is one of the few caves used in Jamaica for the purposes of commercial tourism. At the request of the managers of the site, TPDco, the JCO visited the site on Thursday, January 26, 2006 to carry out a biological assessment using methods established during the Parks in Peril Project. In this report, we will give a brief overview of cave biology, present specific observations for Roaring River Cave, and offer suggestions on how tourism might take place in manner that allows both visitors and resident fauna to successfully coexist in this unique underground realm.


Overview:

The biota of Jamaican caves is made up primarily of only two kingdoms: fungi and animals. Plants are notable by their absence, and this is no surprise as there is little potential for the production of chlorophyll in a place without light. If artificial lighting is introduced, opportunistic algal growth will occur, but this can be regarded as an invasive species.

The fungal species found in nutrient rich caves are often overlooked, and seldom studied, but this unglamorous group is an important part of the cave ecosystem. They are an essential part of the food-chain, and although they will not figure prominently in this report, their place in the overall system cannot be overlooked and will be necessarily referred to.

The faunal content of caves is much greater and more diverse than that of fungi, but generally, the animals found can be placed into one of the following five groups: troglobitic invertebrates (terrestrial obligate cave-dwellers), troglophilic invertebrates (terrestrial opportunistic cave-dwellers), stygobitic invertebrates (aquatic obligate cave-dwellers), Chiroptera (bats), and invasive species in a variety of taxa. A sixth group, tropical frogs, has only one representative, Eleutherodactylus cundalli, which uses the outer part of caves for breeding, although foraging takes place outside of the cave itself.

Invertebrates found in caves, whether troglobitic or troglophilic, can also be grouped into two categories: scavengers and predators. Many of the scavengers live upon the floor of the cave, and require loose soils. If the floor material is compacted, numbers will be adversely affected, with a corresponding effect on the predators that depend on them.

Caves are biologically unique in many ways, and amongst these is the nature of the nutrient input upon which the resident species depend. Unlike the biota found aboveground, or in aquatic/marine environments, there is no illumination available to support plant growth. Fungi, which do not require light, still require some sort of food, whether this is plants to grow upon, or decomposed vegetation, or animal waste. But because there are no plants in a cave, or the animals that would feed upon them, cave fungi are entirely dependent on the introduction of nutrients from an outside source. This is also the case for the troglobites and stygobites that live in the cave, for even if they subsist upon fungi, they are in turn dependent on the introduction of the nutrients that the fungal species required. Essentially, the absence of plants in a cave creates biological conditions very different than those found in most other environments. All of the nutrients must enter the cave from the outside somehow; they cannot be created in the cave itself.

The two main vectors for the introduction of nutrients to a cave are water-flow, and bats. (To a lesser extent, troglophilic species also transport nutrients by foraging outside of the cave, and then depositing faeces inside or serving as food for top-level predators.) Aquatic cave species (i.e. crabs and shrimp) primarily rely on water-borne organic detritus as their food-source. Some terrestrial cave species can take advantage of this input in a limited way, but the primary nutrient source for most trog species is bat guano, (and to a lesser extent, seeds and fruits that are transported into the cave by fruit bats). This bat introduced resource supports scavenging invertebrates, fungi, and all the species that depend on them. To make this more clear, two of the most common food-chains that are based on bat guano follow:

1: Bats forage external to the cave during the night and then deposit faeces in the area of the cave where they roost. Fungi grow upon this nutrient rich source. Fungal gnats in their larval stage browse this, and then when further developed, and airborne, become prey for troglobitic spiders.

2: Bats deposit faeces in roosting areas. Scavenging invertebrates directly browse the guano and then become prey for predators such as Amblypygids (tailless whip scorpions).

In short, if you remove the nutrient input supplied by the bats (through disturbance that eliminates the bats themselves), you lose many other species that were dependent on it.

Bats are more than just a mechanism for introducing nutrients to a cave, they are important in other ways. Insectivorous bats are capable of eating a vast number of mosquitoes every night. Fruitivores are important for pollination. Apart from the services they supply us, they are fascinating in their own right. Their use of echolocation to navigate and feed continues to be a rich field of study. Unfortunately, many people see them as something to be feared.

The most common bat on the island is the Jamaican fruit bat, Artibeus jamaicensis. It is very tolerant of light and human visitation, and is the one that usually infests people’s attics. Indeed, it is tolerant to the point that it is often the one bat species remaining in a cave that has had regular disturbance.  The other fifteen species that are more sensitive to disruption of their roosts, and that do not live in attics, will be absent (one of these species, Phyllonycteris aphylla, has had its roosts disturbed to the point where it may now be extinct). Nevertheless, local people who occasionally visit the roost to extract guano, or for tourist purposes, will confidently claim that there are still many bats. This is in fact not the case; they are just seeing a remnant population of A. jamaicensis.

Apart from disruption of nutrient input by the elimination of bat roosts, one of the primary factors in the biological degradation of Jamaican caves is the presence of invasive species, most importantly the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana. The American cockroach is an introduced species that has become abundant in some caves. It is very good at what it does, which is scavenging, and it has out-competed most other invertebrate scavengers that it has come up against. The effect of this is two-fold: the native scavenging species that were not able to get to the food first starve to death (P. americana move very quickly); some of the species that were out-competed, and eradicated by the roaches, served as food for cave-adapted invert predators that then lost their prey. The result is that caves that have had P. americana introduced have experienced a great loss in their original biodiversity.


Assessment:

The assessment process derived by the JCO and its collaborators uses certain indicators to indicate the overall health of the cave. These are described more fully in the report that was delivered to The Nature Conservancy - Jamaica for the caves component of the Parks in Peril Project, but essentially the method is this: certain species that are at the top of the food-chain are looked for, this indicating the relative abundance of those species upon which they feed; invasive species are looked for, with the American Cockroach the most important; available roosting space for bats, and percentage of this used, is noted. Along with these biological indicators, siltation of caves that take water is noted; soil-compaction is noted; damage to speleothems (formations) is noted; trash is noted; archaeological status is investigated. The conclusions and suggestions that will be found further on in this report are based upon this systematic assessment process. It was designed to be suitable for every cave visited and we are confident that it applies equally well to Roaring River Cave.


Observations:

[The following information is derived from field datasheets that are not included with this report.]

Roaring River Cave
January 26, 2006 - 12:15-15:00 EST
Team: IC Conolley, E Slack


District: Petersfield

Parish: Westmoreland

JAD69: 139200 E, 181800 N

 

Altitude: 80m

Accuracy: >100m

Type: Stream passage

Accessibility: Walk-in

Depth: 21m

Length: 152m

Explorers: GSD

Survey: None

JU Ref: Text - pg 313; Map – N/A

 

Vegetation in general locale: Farm, bush.

Vegetation at entrance:

Rock type: White limestone

Bedding: Poor

Jointing: Moderate

Speleothems: Stals, flowstone

Palaeo resources: Breccia

Archaeo resources: Amerindian?

Hydrology: Wet

Siltation: None

Sink: N/A

Rising: Active

Stream passage with surface activity:

Stream passage without surface activity:

Dark zone: 95%.

Climate: Cool, humid.

Bats: <50

Bat guano: No accumulation

Guano mining: N/A

Guano condition: N/A

Eleutherodactylus cundalli: Some

Neoditomyia farri: None

Amblypygids: None

Periplaneta americana: Some

Cave crickets: Some

Sesarma: None

Other species: Two Araneae – species undetermined

Visitation: Frequent

Speleothem damage: Some

Graffiti: Much

Garbage: Some (garments, prophylactics)

Ownership: Government (TPDco)

Protection: Gated



Notes: Ivor C. Conolley

The team left Kingston at 7:00 am and returned at 9:00 pm. Met with Opal Browning and Richard at the Ferris Cool Oasis Gas Station and then proceeded to the cave together. We were met by the manager of the Recreational Park and Cave and then introduced to a guide who was assigned to 'tour' us. He was sufficiently informed and knowledgeable about the cave to provide a highly acceptable tour. He was not operating from a prepared script; he used his own words. We were shown the areas used for touring visitors. The cave entrance opens into a small chamber with limited features, but not unattractive. The path continued as paved steps with electric lights down into a second chamber larger than the first. Off to the right is a body of water of significant depth. A metal ladder leads one into the water. A member of the team (Ivor) went into the water using a life vest and slowly moved around investigating the white limestone wall of what was evidently a shaft. Sections of the wall were stained with black organic matter akin to that found on the chert in the Roehampton School Cave. It was not as hard, however, and removable by scratching. No invertebrates were found in this area. The depth of this water varied seasonally. At its deepest we were told it was 120 feet (information from the guide who indicated he received it from scuba divers who went down). There was no flow but a slight current was visible. The ceiling was about 15 metres above the water surface. Anecdotally: fish sometimes in this water. No fish were observed at this time.

Off to the right further, a tight squeeze through a passageway showed the stream passage some 3 metres below. Movement onwards was possible but it was decided not to continue through here at this time. With some difficulty one could have continued. This was an upper level of the stream passage above the level used by the visitors. There was evidence here by way of stained bell-holes of a former bat roost. It may be that further on there is more of the same. Back in the main area and the third chamber also the largest off on the right is what the tour guide described as the cave nostril. It is not a light hole but water he says trickles in sometimes.

In various sections in niches bones are present that are from some type of fish. Other bones found which may be from a larger animal and possibly from the pre-Columbian period. A cake with sticks of incense was seen in the area of the 'nostril'. We were told that a Mother - a revivalist minister - held a religious ceremony there and the cake, rum and wine were left for the spirits.

Further up at the end of the main passageway is a scramble up a steep incline to a rock choke. This is beyond what they call a roundabout. At the top of this scramble there was a slight movement of air coming from on opening in the rock on the floor of the cave. The cockroaches found were in this area2.

On the right side of the cave were also openings. These were found in the second chamber. We fully explored a passageway used by visitors. This ended in a stal choke. Another passageway, entered by climbing up a ten foot vertical, led to a traversable passageway which legend has proceeds to Montego Bay3. We did not go that far but although the passageway is fairly tight it would warrant further investigation. It goes in an easterly direction.

2 We suspect that where this passage reaches the surface there is an area that is being used as a dump for trash. This would account for the presence of American roaches. [Stewart]

3 Many caves are rumoured to extend great distances, by way of unexplored passages, but in our experience, once the passages are explored, this turns out to not be the case. Nevertheless, this passage should be investigated as part of a general mapping survey of the cave. [Stewart]



Notes: Elizabeth Slack

The Roaring River Cave in Petersfield, Westmoreland, has been developed by the TPDCo as a tourist cave.  This is immediately evident as one approaches the area, for there are signs to the cave from Ferris Cross. The entrance is enclosed in a grill, to prevent access by the general public. I assume bats can still pass through the bars4. The walkway from the road, to the entrance, and into and through the cave is paved with concrete. It is lit by light bulbs set on the floor and aimed up. It makes for a pleasant walk, with no danger of stumbling or stubbing one’s toes. However, it’s impossible to know if anything of significance is under the pavement. Because the lights are aimed up, it illuminates quite a distance up into the main chambers. This seems to have displaced a sizeable bat roost, one that probably numbered in the hundreds. When the bats left, the ecosystem had nothing to sustain itself, and all the attendant invertebrates that would normally be present have disappeared out of those areas. I understand the need to cater for tourists, but using a different and better-aimed light source would likely be less disruptive than what is presently there. I imagine something like what is laid along the sides of aisles in movie theatres or airplanes would be more suitable. The tour guides walk with flashlights, so they would still be able to highlight anything of interest. Bats don’t care for a constant flow of people, but it seems the cave does not see that level of visitation.

Ivor and I were told that the pool water is no longer safe for swimming because of fecal contamination.  The source of that contamination, it is believed, is a squatter settlement farther up the hill.  Petersfield has an active citizens association; it was responsible for the development of the cave and finds the guides who are then trained by TPDCo. Perhaps the citizens association could undertake a pit-toilet building project, to clean the water. The pit-toilets should not be soak-aways, the most common type, but something that better contains the waste, like a VIDP. I wonder if the lack of Sesarma (crabs), fish or shrimps is due to contamination. The water tested came solely from the pool, but it is likely that the stream farther into the cave is tainted as well.

The pool water runs clear most of the year, getting cloudy in times of heavy rain. Ivor and I noticed a flow, but Ivor felt no current when he was in the water. Ivor told me that beyond the far edge of the pool a short passage ends in a rock choke. The guides told us that the water depth varies a foot or two during the year. SCUBA divers have entered the pool; they found a maze of passages below but no bottom. Recreational SCUBA divers are not supposed to go below a hundred feet, so the pool is at least that deep5.

The tourist part of the cave is largely free of trash, except for items left to placate ancestors. The rest of the cave, however, is littered with various sorts of debris, including some of a particularly personal origin. With a couple of possible exceptions, this debris is carried in, rather than washed in. Modern-day graffiti lines most walls of the cave. It’s ugly but not offensive.

There is some flowstone present, but the trickle rate is very slow6. There is also flowstone and some curtains that are now dry. It had been dry in the area lately; the trickle rate may speed up in wet weather. The cave is poorly bedded, or perhaps not at all. The passage above the stream seems to have fossils embedded in its limestone. Above and beyond the roundabout there is a piece of rock with fossilised snail shells in it7. Ivor and I saw no rudists or chert. The cave had many more stalactites than stalagmites8. Some formations had clean calcite.

There are a couple of fruit bats present in a dry side passage that rises off to one side. The passage also contained two terrestrial toads (Buffo marinus). There are empty light bulb sockets, so the area used to be lit.  It is not currently, and so the bats have found it to be a suitable home. One guide understood the correlation between light and bats, that an area that is lit is not suitable accommodation for bats.

There is evidence of pre-Columbian use of the cave, evinced in bones and snail shells in niches. Some of the bones were located in side passages, but some were along the main tourist track. Care needs to be exercised to prevent any further loss of archaeological resources. I also recommend doing a proper survey and possibly a dig to glean whatever information can be gotten, and the sooner the better.

The cave is largely devoid of fauna, an indication of heavy human interference. There are a few bats remaining, we saw a few cockroaches, two toads, one eleuth and maybe a half dozen spiders from two species.  The cave certainly has the potential to support a greater ecosystem, that is, greater population numbers of a greater number of species. I suspect that when the bat roost was larger this was the case. For the most part, the cave now feels dead.

Besides the main entrance to the cave, there is second entrance next to it. Farther into the cave is the “nostril,” an opening in the fourth chamber. One guide explained that it lets fresh air into the cave, hence the name.  There is organic debris in that area washed in through the hole. I’ve seen a fair number of caves in Jamaica, but this is the first I know of with anatomy. A short distance into the cave, there are two side-by-side holes. They connect to the same passage, which reportedly reaches the surface.

The passage above the stream seems to continue on. It is a bit tight but doable, and may lead to more information about the source of the water. It also contains some of the evidence of pre-Columbian use.

There was never any guano mining, and the few bats remaining don’t make that a worthwhile pursuit. A few stalactites seem to have been broken off.

A short distance into the cave from the main entrance a passage branches off to the north-northwest.  There is a paved path but the area is no longer lit.  Now dry, it resembles an old stream passage, with several branches in different directions. The area contains one decaying bat.

4 The presence of bars at the entrance will affect use by bats to varying degrees depending on the species. A. jamaicensis is believed to be the least affected, although evidence for this remains anecdotal at this time. [Stewart]

5 The minimum depth of the water must at this time be regarded as unknown. [Stewart]

6 Flow and depositional rate are probably seasonal. [Stewart]

7 This is fossil-bearing breccia from the late Quaternary period (last several tens of thousands of years). [Stewart]

8 The associated stalagmites may be buried under sediment that was deposited on the floor of the chambers during a period later than that of the greatest speleothem formation activity. [Stewart]


Conclusions:

Observations made by the investigating team indicate that this site served historically as a roost for greater numbers of bats than it does now. The main indicator of this is the staining present in the bell-holes (deep indentations rising into the ceiling of the chambers). This staining is caused by oils on the fur of the bats and can last for many years after the bats have left. In many caves, these bell-holes are the favoured roosting spots, and when they are seen to have no bats present it indicates that the majority of the available roosting-space is not being utilized. As recorded by E Slack in her notes, “There are a couple of fruit bats present in a dry side passage that rises off to one side”, the total bat population appears to now consist of a small number of A. jamaicensis. We surmise that this state is due to the presence of lights and human visitation, and to a lesser extent, the gated entrance.

The relative lack of guano has removed one of the main underpinnings of the food-chain, and as a result there are few of the invertebrates that would commonly occur in a biologically undisturbed cave. Small numbers of two species of Araneae (spiders) are present, rather than the hundreds of individuals, in a greater variety of species, that would be expected. This serves as a good indicator of low levels of flying prey species. The absence of Amblypygids indicates low levels of non-flying prey species.

Sesarma verleyi (cave crabs), are notable by their absence. We can only speculate on the reasons for this; it may be because of the fecal contamination caused by the nearby squatter community, but this would have to be at very high levels (we have commonly noted S. verleyi in caves that have some input of fecal matter from upstream pastures, so we know that low levels of fecal contamination will not eradicate the population); there is a possibility that the contamination has a chemical component that has poisoned any crabs that were present; land-use external to the system may have altered the input of organic detritus that supplied nutrients.

Periplaneta americana (American cockroaches) are present, with the suspected vector for introduction being trash that is dumped close to, or into, an opening to the cave. IC Conolley notes, “At the top of this scramble there was a slight movement of air coming from on opening in the rock on the floor of the cave. The cockroaches found were in this area.” P. americana consume, amongst other things, bat guano. In caves where there are few bats, and a corresponding low level of faeces deposition, the roaches are quite capable of eating all of what is available before it can serve as a nutrient base for other species. Although roaches were only noted in this part of the cave, it can be expected that they range throughout the rest of the system in search of guano, and then return to the location where they were observed, this being close to where the greatest amount of food is available and thus the main concentration.

Invertebrates that live in loose soils found on cave floors would of course be adversely affected by concrete walkways, but in this cave it is probably not a factor due to the lack of nutrients. That is, they would not be present even if there were no concrete in place, because there is nothing for them to eat.

To summarize the above: the cave has experienced a substantial reduction in its original biodiversity, in all likelihood as a result of human interference both internal and external to the system. It is not reasonable to ask that tourist activities cease at this site, so we would like to offer below a few suggestions on how the situation might be improved, while also enabling commercial activities to continue.


Recommendations:

[1] A partial restoration of conditions conducive to occupation of the cave by bats will have a positive effect on the entire terrestrial biota of the system. The increase in nutrient input will allow extant troglobitic species to return to population levels that will make their eventual extinction much less likely. Although it is doubtful that the full set of bats species that originally inhabited the cave will return, the more common ones such as the Jamaican Fruit Bat and Moormops blainvilli should eventually find the site and reoccupy it. To allow this to occur, at least two changes must happen:

First, a more judicial use of lighting is necessary. The suggestion made by E Slack in her notes, “I imagine something like what is laid along the sides of aisles in movie theatres or airplanes would be more suitable”, is quite good and we offer this as a possibility. The current situation, with the ceilings (roosting space) of the chambers directly lit, entirely prevents use by bats, even A. jamaicensis. It is our experience that this species will continue to occupy a roost if lights are not shone directly upon them, and if visitors also pass through the roosting area with a minimum of noise. The benefits of this change in lighting will not be restricted to the bats and the rest of the biota; by placing a greater emphasis on the biology of the site during the tours that are carried out, the visitors will be given a much deeper insight into the true nature of the cave, and may come away with more than just memories of its physical beauty. The educational component of the tour will be greatly enhanced and will better serve those guests whose interests are more in the field of ecotourism. For those guests who merely want an “adventure”, it is our experience that a cave seems much more mysterious when it is not fully illuminated. As Ms. Slack also notes, “The tour guides walk with flashlights, so they would still be able to highlight anything of interest”. We suggest that by having adequate light for the walkways proper so that everyone can see where they are stepping, and having the further parts of the chamber appearing only in the beams of flashlights, the experience will, if anything, be enhanced, not lessened. A final benefit is that this lighting scheme will probably consume less electricity and improve the operating margin for the managers of the site.

Secondly, we strongly recommend that a section of the cave be set aside as a biological reserve with access severely restricted. This can be an area that is not commonly used, at present, so that it would minimize the effect on the commercial activities in the system, but it must be an area that has good roosting space for bats (bell-holes). In all likelihood, to enforce this, nothing more is required than a sign advising visitors that access is restricted beyond that point. Of course, the restrictions must also apply to guides and all other employees of TPDco. The determination of the best section to set aside as biological reserve can be arrived at by way of a more thorough study of the cave, with the results then presented to TPDco staff for consultation. As part of this process, an accurate map of the entire system should be created.

[2] The input of contamination to this cave should be dealt with. There is no need for a heavy-handed approach; simple education programs for those who live in the local squatter community, and funding to assist in proper septic disposal, will probably suffice. As part of the process, the source of the American roaches should be found. This can be done by mapping the cave, and then transposing the map aboveground to locate the area above the main concentration of the roaches (noted by Mr. Conolley).

[3] The presence of concrete on the floors of passages and chambers has a very negative effect on the biota of the cave. In the future, if funding allowed, it would be helpful to remove the concrete, restore soil conditions, and construct raised walkways that prevent visitors from damaging the surface below. We realize that funding may never become available for this, but if it does, it would be a great improvement on the current situation.

[4] An advantage of the regular visitation to this cave by employees of TPDco is the potential to manually eliminate the invasive roaches, P. americana. Whenever possible, it would be beneficial if guides take the opportunity to crush/squash/step-upon any roaches that are seen. If this becomes common practice, and if the aboveground source is found and dealt with, the negative effects of this invasive species will be greatly lessened.

[5] Additions to the current collection of graffiti in the cave must be prohibited. Roaring River Cave is not a chalkboard upon which to draw – it is a very special place that must be treated with respect.

[6] The possible evidence for pre-Columbian Amerindian use suggests that this be looked into further. It would be beneficial if the Archaeology Dept at UWI were apprised of this possibility. If all the parties concerned then wish, arrangements can be made for more detailed investigations.

[7] Our final recommendation is to suggest a change in the way the cave is viewed commercially. In the past, tourists were content with looking, and nothing more. With increased education has come an increased thirst for knowledge. Many people are no longer content with taking a few pictures and moving on; they want a more fulfilling experience. Roaring River Cave has the potential to become an educational resource for both residents of, and visitors to, Jamaica. The creation of a pamphlet that addresses the creation processes, biological worth, and hydrological importance of the cave would be of great value in assisting in this. Workshops designed to give Guides greater knowledge in the field of speleology (not restricted to the local context) would provide them with the tools to answer questions that they might not yet know the answers to themselves. This approach would move Roaring River Cave beyond being a simple tourist attraction, and allow it to become something of much greater value. We believe that appropriate marketing, which stresses the educational and ecotourism aspects of the site, would result in positive changes for both TPDco and the cave itself.


Appendix:

An excerpt from the Jamaica Underground [1] entry for Roaring River Cave follows:

“An account (undated) attributed to E. Luther Brookes of Savanna-la-mar and quoted in Clerk.” [Fincham]

A cave is by no means and uninteresting place; much less so the beautiful Roaring River Cave. “Roaring River” is the name given to one of Miss Haye’s estates since it is that of the river that waters the property. The river has its source in a cave, hence the appellation “Roaring River Cave".
The cave is chiefly noted for three things: 1st, for its unsurpassed local splendour; 2nd, its traditional interest; and 3rd its great antiquity. It is beautifully cut out of the solid rock. No human architect, not even Wren, could plan; no human sculptor - no, not even the great Michael Angelo, could carve such a marvel of art as is this cave. It undoubtedly was not made by hands; its maker is God.
The cave is divided into several apartments. There is one which looks every inch like a chapel, and contains that which represents a pulpit with an open bible on it. Being dark, a light is necessary when making a visit.
At the farthest end stands a room, prominent for its contents. In it will be seen a table on which are a dozen cups and saucers [2]. To enter this room one has to creep through a small aperture.
In the centre of the cave is a round deep hole about two yards in diameter. This hole is full of water and abounds with various sorts of fishes which visitors generally catch by an easy method. A lighted candle is put upon floatable material in the water. The light attracts the fish, they congregate around it and are caught and prepared in delicious dishes… [3]
Of the golden cups, tradition says that the first man who found the cave and its contents vainly tried to procure one of them himself. Fatal, however, was the result, for his bones were found after some time by another adventurer. One of the cups being battered claims for this story some consideration.


1 Fincham, Alan. Jamaica underground : the caves, sinkholes and underground rivers of the island / Alan Fincham 2d edition. ISBN 976-640-055-54
2 This legend, golden cups and saucers, is also associated with other Jamaican caves (e.g. Windsor, Fontabelle Rising). [Stewart]
3 Judging by the current absence or low-levels of fish, they were somewhat too delicious - to the point where they have mostly been eaten. [Stewart]


Glossary of terms:

Aquatic – Species that live in the water.

Biota – The complete set of species living in a particular environment.

Breccia – In a cave context, this is sedimentary rock, often very soft, created by water-borne sediments deposited long after the original formation of the cave. It often contains fossils.

Flowstone – Calcite formations that are created by calcium-bearing flows of water from cracks in the walls of a cave.

Invasive – Generally, this refers to species that are non-native, but the term is more often used when the species causes a severe disruption to the original ecosystem.

Invertebrates – Animals without backbones. Includes insects, spiders, and crabs.

Obligate – Species that must live in a particular environment.

Opportunistic – Species that will inhabit caves, but are not restricted to, or particularly fond of caves.

Speleothems – Formations, including stalagmites, stalactites, helictites, and flowstone.

Stals – Cavers short-form for stalactites and stalagmites.

Stalactites – Calcite formations that hang from the ceiling. Created by water percolating from above.

Stalagmites – Formations that grow from the floor upwards, usually under stalactites. Stalactites and stalagmites can grow together to form a column.

Stygobite - Aquatic species that are restricted to, and only found in caves. E.g. Sesarma verleyi (Jamaican cave crab).

Terrestrial – Species that live on dry land.

Troglobite – Terrestrial species that are restricted to, and only found in caves. E.g. Troglopedetes jamaicanus (cave-adapted Springtail).

Troglophile – Terrestrial or aquatic species that can successfully inhabit caves but are not restricted to them. E.g. Sesarma fossarum (Jamaican river crab).

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