Date of Award

Spring 1976

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

John R. Holsinger

Committee Member

Frank P. Day

Committee Member

Paul W. Kirk, Jr.

Committee Member

David C. Culver

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 D53


Populations of the troglobitic amphipod Crangonyx antennatus living in two distinct aquatic habitats were examined for possible variations in their ecology, morphology and behavior. Collections were made seasonally for one year in six Lee Co., Virginia caves, three containing mud-bottom, drip pools and three with small gravel stream habitats. Environmental parameters thought to influence population variation were quantitatively and qualitatively recorded in each of the six caves.

Amphipod densities, body length, female maturity, clutch number and stream washout rates were found to be greater in drip pool habitat populations. Variation was also observed in body coloration and antennal segment-body length relationships. Differences in the amount and type of available food materials found in the two aquatic habitats were considered the most important environmental parameter affecting population variation.

The population variation of C. antennatus noted between habitats is viewed as indicative of the adaptive flexibility of this vagile troglobitic species.


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