Our study was done to determine if cave crickets (Ceuthophilus gracilipes gracilipes) are able to transport dictyostelid cellular slime molds into and within caves. Large cave crickets were captured from Pigeon Roost Cave in northwestern Arkansas. Crickets were individually washed to remove dictyostelid spores, and fecal pellets collected aseptically from the washed crickets. Five species of dictyostelids, assigned to two genera (Dictyostelium and Polysphondylium), were recovered from the surface of six crickets, and a single species (D. sphaerocephalum) from one sample of fecal pellets. Since cave crickets forage outside the cave, they can introduce dictylostelids to caves from out-side sources, and can serve as vectors for transporting dictyotelids within caves. The present study is the first to demonstrate that cave-dwelling invertebrates are capable of transporting these organisms.
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