Additional maps and tables from chapter 3: Biodiversity and ecology of Sierra de El Abra caves by William R. Elliott
The general ecology and biodiversity of fish caves in the Sierra de El Abra region is discussed in Chapter 3 with details about the ecology of four examples. Sótano de Yerbaniz is a deep, violently flooding swallet (stream-capture cave) with the largest catchment area in the El Abra region, 16 km2. Yerbaniz is hydrologically related to two other caves nearby. Cueva Chica, the original cave in which the Mexican cavefishes were found in 1936, is a shallow walk-in cave with a series of four pools containing hybrid cavefishes, then more and more river fishes toward the end; Chica is sometimes backflooded by the Río Tampaón. Cueva de Los Sabinos is a large system hydrologically connected to Sótano del Arroyo and Sótano de la Tinaja. Sótano de Soyate is a deep fissure with a large, deep lake reaching below the regional base level. The potential prey of the hardy cavefishes include swimming crustaceans, but the cavefishes subsist mainly on bat guano, other fishes, floating animals, and flood debris. Large populations of cavefishes thrive in some of the 29 known, semi-isolated caves, while small populations subsist in shallow pools. Conservation of the cavefishes must begin, perhaps by including their caves in the two major biosphere reserves in the region.
Cueva Chica: La Cueva Chica map, © William R. Elliott. See legend of AMCS cave map symbols, also provided on this site, Additional Maps and Tables from Chapter 1
Soyate: Sótano de Soyate map. © William R. Elliott.