Cave crickets travel farther from their homes to forage -- by about double -- than their previously reported range, researchers have discovered. In Texas, that means protective buffer areas around caves may need to be extended to protect endangered invertebrate species that live inside and depend on the crickets.
Reporting in the journal American Midland Naturalist, a team of researchers led by Steven J. Taylor, an entomologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, reported that the crickets, Ceuthophilus secretus, journey at night in high numbers up to 80 meters (262 feet) from the entrances of central Texas caves. A few crickets traveled up to 105 meters (344 feet) to feed.
Previous research indicated that most crickets stay within 50 meters (164 feet) from their caves. As part of the formula for a buffer zone proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a range for cricket foraging was recommended. The buffer zone also extends outward to control for the effects of invasive red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta Buren). The buffer-zone formula helps to guide where to apply treatment applications against the ants.
Jim Barlow | EurekAlert!
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