(Above) Alamo Cave - Jackson Co., FL.
Terrestrial caves are extremely unique and delicate
ecosystems, with many specialized species of animals utilizing or living in them. A variety of unusual animals can be
found near or in caves, such as bats, salamanders and numerous invertebrates. A host of endemic or highly
adapted organisms can be found in caves such as albino cave crayfishes and the Georgia Blind Cave salamander.
At least 380 dry caves are found in
Florida and over 140 caves occur in the Marianna Lowlands region, of the larger
Dougherty Karst Plain! Karst is a term for areas with abundant limestone, and features such as caves, sinkholes and springs. The
Dougherty Karst Plain occurs in southwest Georgia and stretches southwesterly through southeastern Alabama, into the central
Florida panhandle. At least 1,000 caves are also found in Georgia, and over 2000 caves are found in Alabama.
(Above) The boundaries of the Dougherty Karst Plain
in northwest Florida fall within the red line.
(Below) The boundaries of the Dougherty Karst Plain
in southeast Alabama fall within the red line.
(Above) The boundaries of the Dougherty Karst Plain in southwest Georgia
fall within the red line.
Regional examples of where unique Karst
features can be found are FL Caverns and Falling Waters State Parks. Local
caves are made of limestone or Calcium Carbonate. Caves form over millions of
years from the compressed remains of dead mollusks such as oysters, clams, snails and other shellfish that once lived in large
tropical bays. It also takes hundreds to thousands of years for formations to
develop in caves.