OUCC Proceedings 13 (1991)

Scientific work in the Picos de Europa

Proc. 13 Contents.

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Biological Collection

In 1989 a cave adapted millipede, tentatively identified as Asturasoma fowleri (see [1] and [2] for previous collection and identification of this species), was seen in a boulder chamber above Choke Drucilla. A scheme was devised to capture specimens of this and other species during the 1990 expedition.

Bait was laid in the cave around the campsite and examined daily, but nothing was seen. The only animals seen and captured were several craneflies (Tipulids); these were found near the camp and by Pimpernel streamway, over 800m below the entrance. They do not appeared to be in any way cave adapted. This suggests that there is likely to be a lower entrance to the system, located near to the underground camp. The surface survey shows that the high level passages close to camp are within 350m of the surface.

It is planned to carry out a more extensive trapping program within the cave on the 1991 expedition, setting more bait traps in less frequently visited areas of the cave including the high level passages. It also planned to experiment with a UV lamp trap to attract cave insects, which was successfully used in Kenyan lava tubes.

Whilst exploring surface entrances a number of interesting bones were discovered. One cave (Cave of the Skulls) was littered with skeletons at the bottom of the 40m entrance pitch. These included the skulls of rebeccos (chamoix) and of the European wolf. The latter is now extinct in this region of the massif.


[1] Fowler, S. (1983) In: Proc. Oxford Univ. Cave Club 10, (J. Singleton Ed.) pp36--40.

[2] Mauries, J. P. (1982) Epigeal and cave dwelling diplopods of the Spanish Pyrenees and the Cantabrian Mountains, Spain. Astaurasoma new-genus Diplopoda Craspedosomida. Bull. Soc. Hist. Nat. Toulouse 117 162-170.

Dave Horsley