Date of Award

Summer 1982

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

John R. Holsinger

Committee Member

James F. Matta

Committee Member

Anthony J. Provenzano

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 C642


An ecological study of the troglobitic cirolanid isopod, Antrolana lira Bowman, was begun in August 1979 and continued through September 1980. The isopod is restricted to two phreatic lakes in Madisons Saltpetre Cave and one phreatic lake in nearby Stegers Fissure, Augusta Co., Virginia.

All three phreatic lakes were scuba dived and surveyed. No direct connections were found between the lakes. However, physical similarities suggest that the lakes are made up of the same body of phreatic water.

Random samples were taken monthly and seasonally from the east lake in Madisons Saltpetre Cave and the lake in Stegers Fissure. Specimens could be readily sexed at ≥9.7 mm. Individualsestablished.

The population of A. lira is small. The combined size range of specimens was 3.5 mm to 21 mm. The population age structure is skewed toward adults. Fissure specimens tended to be larger than were pool, specimens. Juveniles were present throughout the year. Females always outnumbered males. Males reach a maximum size of approximately 16 mm, and females a maximum size of 21 mm. The population is believed to be stable.

Scavenging is probably the primary means of food getting for A. lira. Gut contents tend to support this observation.


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