A list of cave-limited species in the United States and Canada

compiled by Hobbs, H.H., D.C. Culver, and W.R. Elliott (2003)

A list of cave-limited species in the United States and Canada

These files contain a list of all county records for all species and subspecies of obligate subterranean animals in the 48 contiguous states. The columns should be self-explanatory, with the following exceptions:

  • Habitats are denoted as follows–karst or non-karst/cave or interstitial/obligate or non-obligate/aquatic or terrestrial. At present, only obligate species are included. The non-cave list is very incomplete.
  • Species ranks are based on The Nature Conservancy ranking system, with G1 being the most at risk and G5 being the least. See Master, L.L. 1991. Assessing threats and setting priorities for conservation. Conservation Biology 5:559-563.
  • Taxonomic authority refers to the original description
  • The Key Reference column provides access to the original description about the species.

The following files may be downloaded:

Key References

The key references file (Microsoft Word format) is used in conjunction with the species list of US troglobites and stygobites. We have not attempted a complete bibliography for each species. Rather, we have tried to provide a relatively easily available reference of two to the species. Some of these are the taxonomic descriptions and some are biogeographic accounts. As with the species list, we would appreciate knowing about any mistakes or additions.


Maintenance of the list is supported by a grant from the Cave Conservancy of the Virginias.

The following provided help with the species list, county records, and bibliography:

  • Thomas Briggs (Opillones)
  • Donald Chandler (Pselaphidae)
  • Kenneth Christiansen (Collembola)
  • William Elliot (Acari)
  • Lynn Ferguson (Diplura)
  • Robert Hershler (Gastropoda)
  • John Holsinger (Amphipoda)
  • Julian Lewis (Isopoda)
  • William Muchmore (Isopoda and Pseudoscorpionida)
  • Stewart Peck (Catopidae)
  • William Shear (Diplopoda)
  • James Cokendolpher (Araneae)

We are especially grateful to Stewart Peck. Without his earlier work in preparing a list of genera and his cooperation, this project would have been inconceivable.


Our plan is to provide semi-annual or annual updates to both the list and the bibliography. Please send updates or comments to dculver@american.edu.