The Cave Fauna of California. William R. Elliott, James R. Reddell, D. Craig Rudolph, G.O. Graening, Thomas S. Briggs, Darrell Ubick, Rolf L. Aalbu, Jean Krejca, Steven J. Taylor. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, July 28, 2017. 311 pp., 25 tables, 9 maps, 4 graphs, 105 photos.
The front section of the 311-page book covers many topics for cavers, scientists, and general readers. A large literature cited is followed by a species list, site list, glossary, and index. The well-illustrated book will appeal to anyone interested in caves, cave biology, history, geology, and California.
At least 4,600 caves of all types are known in California. The book summarizes 1,301 biological sites, with data from 998 caves: (693 karst caves and features, 181 lava tubes, and 124 sea caves), plus 143 groundwater sites and 160 mines and tunnels.
The book lists 1,366 taxa, including 146 obligate subterranean taxa, comprised of 102 troglobites (terrestrial cave obligates), 12 stygobites (aquatic cave obligates), and 32 phreatobites (obligate groundwater forms). The species list includes 109 new (currently undescribed) species of all types.
The richest regions for obligate subterranean species are the Sierra Nevada, Klamath Mountains, and lava flows in the northern portion of the State. The high number (72) of single-site endemic species is indicative of the insular distribution of karst, large differences in elevation, and the many river systems cutting across the state's mountain ranges.
The book includes an analysis recognizing 20 high biodiversity caves. The top five are Clough Cave, Samwel Cave, Empire Cave, Clay Cave, and Lilburn Cave. Cave maps illustrate basic cave structure and interesting ecological features, such as roots, which are important food sources in the caves.