Ecosystem & Life

A beautiful and perfect harmony. Nature.

A harmony you can experience.

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Perfect Balance

Everything works together in an ecosystem. Maintaining its balance is critical.

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The Troglo Trio

Troglobites, troglophiles, and troglozenes. There are actual differences, besides the spelling.

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Nature's Thermostat

Set to 52 degrees year-round and combined with high humidity, you won't be cold.

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Total Darkness

Since total darkness exists beyond the cave entrance, only certain creatures can thrive.

Perfectly chosen by Mother Nature.

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Limestone caves maintain an almost constant year-round temperature. (The temperature of the limestone is controlled by the average annual temperature of the area.) Marengo Cave’s temperature is about 52.1 degrees. Its humidity is very high- nearly 100% in many areas of the cave.

Trio break down

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These cave dwellers must complete their entire life cycle inside a cave.

Examples: isopods, millipedes, springtails, amphipods, and blind crayfish


These cave lovers complete their life cycles inside or outside the cave

Examples: salamanders, cave crickets, spiders, flies, fungus gnats, and cave beetles


These are cave guests. They cannot complete their life cycle inside a cave.

Examples: white footed mice and bats

The underground munching order

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The Food Chain

Insects such as beetles and mites feed on mold and bacteria. Cave animals living in water also eat floating bacteria. Beetles, other insects, and small aquatic animals serve as food for the larger predators. Organic matter is returned to the cave environment through the dead bodies and droppings of these larger predators.


Fungi are carried into the cave by air currents, in water, and on the bodies of animals. Fungi obtain their nourishment by breaking down the detritus inside the cave. Fungi (growing on decaying wood) can occasionally be found inside Marengo Cave.


Since total darkness exists beyond the cave entrance, only a few non-green plants can grow in the cave’s dark interior. Detritus (organic debris) can be brought into the cave by surface water and flowing cave streams. Detritus consists of sticks, animal wastes, dead animals, leaves, and dead plants. It is the bottom of the food chain inside the cave.