Exploring the Silver-Dragon Cave at night (2009-10-16)

I was helping my mother cleaning the house today, so I didn't have time to go out and wildlife watch. So here's a continuation of my trip in southern Taiwan after watching the sunset in Guanshan (2009-10-16).

After having mouth-watering dumplings for dinner, we headed back to our dormitory. And after getting some rest, we went to explore a public-accessible cave in the Kenting Botanical Garden. Since the whole area is closed off during the evening, we were the only people able to go into it. The cave is called Silver-Dragon Cave and it is a natural limestone cave.

Below were some of the species we saw. I tried to identify most of them and asked for help on forums and so forth, but not all were identified.

Pancala batanica pancala - 班卡拉蝸牛
Pancala Snail (Pancala batanica pancala). Taiwan has more than 170 snail species, and the Pancala Snail is an endemic subspecies found only in the Hengchuan Peninsula. This special snail has the special trait of being left handedness. I just Googled an interesting information about "handedness" in snails here - for interest's sake.

Ceuthophilus maculatus - 灶馬
Next is a large cave-dwelling cricket called Ceuthophilus maculatus. Or maybe a different species in the same genus, I am not totally sure. But it sure is cool to see such large insects crawling on walls all around you in a narrow cave.

Taiwan Tube-nosed Bat (Murina puta) - 台灣管鼻蝠
This is a mammal that I was very surprised and happy to see in a cave - Formosan Tube-nosed Bat (Murina puta) - an animal that I researched in in the summer of 2008! You can read about my stories from that summer here - good times! It is surprising because it should be a forest dwelling bat, not cave-dwelling, but I guess since the cave is surrounded by forests, it is much safer in a cave than in the furled plant leaf. This species is easily identified by its pointy nostrils (clearly seen in the picture). Wow!

Female Geothelphusa albogilva - 黃灰澤蟹
Then we encountered a female Geothelphusa albogilva. It is a freshwater crab endemic in Taiwan and most common in the Hengchuan Peninsula.

Stejneger's Narrow-mouthed Toad (Micryletta stejnegeri) - 史丹吉氏小雨蛙
The cave itself is fairly narrow and short, and pretty soon we entered the forest and started shining lights everywhere to see some wildlife. We didn't have much luck and the only animal we saw was this small Stejneger's Narrow-mouthed Toad (Micryletta stejnegeri). They are fairly easy identified with their small body size (2 ~ 3-cm) and their dark metallic gray or brown color.

Hekou's Gecko (Gekko hokouensis) - 鉛山壁虎
After a while, we gave up and returned back to the cave and to our mopeds. On the cave wall, we spotted this Hekou's Gecko (Gekko hokouensis) - it has alternating dark and light patterns running from the middoral to the tail, and it's tail is more rounded rather than flattened.

Unidentified Heteropoda spp. (棕高腳蛛)
Then we saw a large unidentified Heteropoda spp. hiding in the cracks of the cave. Wow.

Acanthaspis immodesta - 紅足荊獵蝽
After we came out of the cave, our light shone on a Acanthaspis immodesta. Neat insect to see before we conclude our adventure and head back to the dorm for a shower and sleep.

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