Sunday, February 13, 2005

Rare cave spiders on
Kauai get protection plan

A draft plan to help protect two rare cave-dwelling species on Kauai is up for public review, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said.

The plan involves protecting the cave systems where the Kauai cave wolf spider and Kauai cave amphipod dwell by limiting human entry and nurturing the native plants above the caves.

The spider and amphipod are both sightless. They are the only two species known to exist in lava tubes and cave-bearing rock in Kauai's Koloa Basin. The amphipod is typically less than a half-inch long and resembles a shrimp.

"With the known population of the Kauai cave spider -- perhaps fewer than 30 individuals -- all in a single cave, we need to take action quickly to ensure that the only eyeless wolf spider in the world continues to survive," said Dave Allen, Pacific regional director for the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The cave amphipod is regularly found in three caves, including the one where the cave wolf spider is found.

The proposal also calls for increasing public knowledge and research of the spider and the amphipod and funding land usage practices that don't harm the two species.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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