Illustration: H.G. Hubbard
The gopher tortoise, Gopherus polyphemus
is a long lived tortoise that digs burrows deep underground. The tortoise is considered threatened and is protected under US-FWS
rules. The burrows are sizable and invite over 350 species of animal “guests” including many species of insects. In 1894 Henry G Hubbard published The Insect Guests of the Florida Land Tortoise
. Hubbard was interested in a rare frog that was reported to inhabit the tortoise burrow. He began excavation of a tortoise burrow in 1893, an undertaking that required much digging and the creation of a large pit. Hubbard found his frog and numerous other inhabitants that he also collected. His findings encouraged him to excavate more burrows: eight in total.
8 Species of Beetles, including a coprophagous species feeding on turtle droppings.
1 Undescribed species of caterpillar that feeds on turtle dung. Attempts at rearing the species to adulthood were unsuccessful.
1 Species of Wingless Cricket.
2 Species of pseudoscorpion.
2 Species of ticks.
Many of the species encountered lacked eyes and possessed long sensory bristles- adaptations for the dark environment. Many of the new species described by Hubbard had close relatives that were adapted to life above ground indicating a recent association with the burrows of tortoises,
This entry was posted in by jjneal
. Bookmark the permalink