Kauai Cave species draft recovery plan released for review and comment

A draft recovery plan outlining the recovery strategies for the Kauai cave wolf spider and Kauai cave amphipod has been released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for public comment. The two species are known to exist only in the lava tubes and cave-bearing rock in Kauai's Koloa Basin.

"This plan will lead the cooperative efforts of the Service, the State of Hawaii, and many other partners as they work to recover these two rare species," said Dave Allen, Pacific regional director for the Fish and Wildlife Service. "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."

Six broad recovery tasks are discussed in the draft plan:

- protecting known cave systems where the Kauai cave wolf spider and amphipod exist;
- enhancing currently and recently occupied habitats;
- conducting research to gain additional knowledge of the species and their conservation needs;
- enhancing public knowledge of and support for protecting these species;
- validating recovery objectives; and developing a post-delisting monitoring plan.
These two species were first discovered in 1971 and much about their conservation needs remains unknown. Research recommended within the draft plan includes studies:
- to determine local populations sizes and/or movement;
- to determine the most beneficial plants to be used for habitat improvement;
- to develop noninvasive ways to determine the status of populations;
- to learn more about regulating the humidity of caves and its effect on these species and nonnative ones;
- to look for additional occupied caves or restorable cave systems;
- to continue monitoring activities; and to determine the feasibility of moving wolf spiders into unoccupied cave systems.

The Kauai cave wolf spider is a mid-size (0.50 to 0.75-inch) hunting spider that has completely lost its eyes as part of its adaptation to life in lava tubes.
The Kauai cave amphipod is a small (0.25 to 0.4-inch) pale landhopper that resembles a shrimp. Like the cave wolf spider, the Kauai cave amphipod has lost its eyes.

The Kauai cave wolf spider and cave amphipod were listed as endangered on January 14, 2000. On June 2, 2000, the U.S. District Court ordered the Fish and Wildlife Service to designate critical habitat for these species. Critical habitat for the species was designated on April 9, 2003, in the Federal Register.
From: Caprep.com

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